What is Persillade?
Persillade is a sauce or garnish consisting primarily of garlic and parsley, often with a small amount of olive oil or other herbs and ingredients to enhance the taste and texture of it. Often found in Greek cooking, it is a standard of French cuisine and those dishes that have been influenced by French cooking such as Quebecois and Creole cuisine. It is quite simple to make and is included in a number of dishes, including pommes persillade. It can be used to make a crust that is often applied to simple dishes such as baked rack of lamb or sautéed chicken cutlets, and can be used to top oysters served in the shell.
Traditionally, persillades are made by finely chopping or mincing garlic and parsley together to form a fine garnish or sauce. For many chefs it is a standard aspect of their mise en place, or setup, and can be used for a number of different purposes. It can be used alone and added to other types of foods, or it can be combined with other types of ingredients to enhance the flavor and uses of the garnish. The flavor of the persillade is strong with sharp notes of garlic and parsley, though if it is added while a dish is cooking and allowed to cook slightly the flavors will mellow.
A traditional persillade can be combined with olive oil to give it a wetter texture, often making it more like a thick sauce and used to coat pieces of meat for cooking such as lamb. It can also be made using other herbs such as oregano or basil instead of parsley for a different flavor that still compliments the garlic quite nicely. Other flavors such as lemon zest can also be added to a traditional persillade to add a deeper flavor, with the sour citrus contrasting the sharpness of the garlic. This is especially popular for applications where it is used as a garnish at the end of cooking, and the flavors will still be fresh and strong.
Persillade can also be prepared with breadcrumbs added to the garlic and parsley to create a breading that can be applied to meats such as chicken cutlets. This use is often applied to a chicken breast that has been pounded thin and is then pan fried in a small amount of oil. One popular usage is a dish called pommes persillade in which several potatoes are cut into small cubes, which are sautéed in a little oil until brown and a persillade added to the dish just before serving.
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