I’ve been watching the first season of Downton Abbey again, and reliving all the problems the aristocracy have had with inheritance and the birth of a boy.
In England, when children ask where babies come from, they are told: “From the parsley bed.” This notion has survived for hundreds of years. In 1748, the second son of an English noble wrote a little poem on the subject of parsley and its relationship to destiny:
This day from the parsley bed, I’m sure,
Was dug my elder brother, Moore,
Had Papa dug me up before him,
So many would not now adore him.
But, hang it, he is only one,
If he trips off, I am Sir John.
My own parsley bed, and indeed the whole herb garden is flourishing so abundantly, I plan to snip a bunch and make a variation on a simple pesto, adding three kinds of parsley and some chives to the traditional basil.
I’ll serve the pesto with green fetuccini and six green vegetables. (This is a little green on green on green culinary fantasy and a lovely lunch dish with or without a green salad and a glass of white wine.)
Here’s a recipe for pesto.
(It makes 1-1/2 cups)
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (horribly expensive) pine nuts, or substitute other nuts
1 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine the basil, garlic, salt and nuts in a food processor. Add the oil in through the top in a slow, steady stream with the motor running. Lastly add the cheese.
Note: To store pesto, pour a thin film of olive oil over its surface. Cover and refrigerate. Stir in the olive oil when you are ready to use the sauce.
If you’re a gardener and find that you have too many herbs, here is a food job: make little bouquets of these fragrant leaves, tie them with a lavender ribbon and sell them to a neighborhood restaurant as a little gift for the guests to take home. Or provide rosemary to the florist to add to the bridal bouquet.
Rosemary, in case you forgot, also is the herb of remembrance.