Perfect…Parsley and Pears

Salad, yes, with Thanksgiving dinner. Green needed to be present.

Root vegetables were beautifully showcased. Classic white mashed potatoes. Cubed orange sweet potatoes with roasted red peppers. Roasted carrots and brussels sprouts. And orange again in the roasted butternut squash and kale tart I’d made as the second main course for the resident vegetarian, me.

Golden turkey and baked stuffing added brown-gold to the table.

So…green. Well, the kale in the tart. And the brussels sprouts with carrots. And, then too, French green beans with ivory cannellini beans in a vinaigrette.

But…more than green.

Greens. Something fresh.

A perfect place for parsley.

And pears.

Spring greens. Thin slices of pears from half a red Bartlett pear and half a Bosc pear. Ripe, luscious slices because the pears had lounged in an exotic tamarind-glazed bowl for a day. Parsley leaves plucked whole and tossed in. Oranges zested over the bowl with a microplane. A generous handful of toasted pine nuts I’d had left over, to add a tiny bite of richness. Salt and pepper. Extra virgin olive oil to coat. All in a glass bowl that was my grandmother’s. Clear at the top and, that’s right, green, at the bottom.

Perfect.

Oh, Parsley

At the farmers market Thursday, I bought a small bunch of parsley at one vendor, and then…a larger bunch at another vendor when I saw she had it, too. I couldn’t help myself. Until I saw those neatly gathered green bunches, I didn’t know how much I’d I missed it. It’s my favorite herb, and, still, it hadn’t been in the house for weeks.

Sure, basil is a lush, rich star of an herb, and Mario Batali once referred to marjoram as “the sexiest herb,” but, parsley…

The burst of extra flavor it brought to each of the fried meatballs Mom would give us when we were kids just before she slipped the rest into her Sunday sauce to simmer. Or, along with the perfect hint of lemon, lifting the already marvelous combination of bread crumb, egg, and grated cheese in broth, that is the Italian egg drop soup stracciosa, to marvelous-plus.

Yesterday I snipped a few leaves from one of the bunches we’d bought as it sat on the counter in a glass of water and added them to a cheese sandwich to take to work. At lunchtime, I smiled when I took a bite. Oh, parsley.