Chopping Parsley or Cilantro

This is another basic kitchen skill that you need to learn. Unfortunately, I can’t purchase freshly washed and chopped parsley or cilantro. Therefore, when I do spend the time and effort doing so, I want to capitalize on it by using either the parsley or cilantro in different dishes that require it. Think Baked Gruyere Toasts, Asian Chicken Salad, Mango Salsa, Linguine with Clam Sauce, and more.

Parsley comes in two varieties: curly and flat-leaf (also known as Italian). I prefer the flavor of flat-leaf, so that’s what I buy. Cilantro looks a lot like parsley, but has a different flavor. Its leaves are rounder than flat-leaf parsley, and if you smell it, you can tell it’s cilantro.

To store fresh parsley or cilantro, trim the ends of the bunch and place it in a tall glass or other container. Fill it with a little water and keep the parsley either on the countertop or in the refrigerator for several days.

If you ever watch cooking shows, some cooks merely rinse the parsley or cilantro, and then start chopping it, stems and all. That’s not what I do. Who wants to munch on tough parsley stems? Not yours truly.

Prepping the Parsley:

1. Chop off the entire end of the bunch, close to the rubber band that’s holding it together.  Fill the sink with warmish water, add some salt (the salt helps to draw out the dirt), and soak the parsley for awhile.

2. Lift the parsley from the soaking water and place in a salad spinner. Spin the parsley to remove the excess water and put the parsley in a single layer on a tea towel or doubled-up paper towels. If you don’t own a salad spinner, simply shake the parsley off really well and place on a long doubled-up sheet of paper towel.

3. Roll up the parsley in either the kitchen towel or paper towel and refrigerate.

How to chop:

1. Remove the stems from the parsley (or cilantro).

2. Scrunch the leaves together on a cutting board.

3. Run your knife across the scrunched-up leaves in one direction, and then in the opposite direction (perpendicular).

4. Take your knife, and place your hand across the top of your knife, and finish chopping the parsley until it’s uniformly chopped.