Parsley or garden parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a species of Petroselinum in the family Apiaceae, native to the central Mediterranean region (southern Italy, Algeria, and Tunisia), naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as a herb, a spice, and a vegetable.
Where it grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves 10–25 cm (3.9–9.8 in) long with numerous 1–3 cm (0.4–1.2 in) leaflets, and a taproot used as a food store over the winter.
Parsley is widely used in European, Middle Eastern, and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. In central Europe, eastern Europe and southern Europe, as well as and in western Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Root parsley is very common in central, eastern and southern European cuisines, where it is used as a snack or a vegetable in many soups, stews, and casseroles.
Parsley is widely used in Middle Eastern, European, Brazilian and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is used often as a garnish. Green parsley is used frequently as a garnish on potato dishes (boiled or mashed potatoes), on rice dishes (risotto or pilaf), on fish, fried chicken, lamb, goose, and steaks, as well in meat or vegetable stews (including shrimp creole, beef bourguignon, goulash, or chicken paprikash).
In central Europe, eastern Europe and southern Europe, as well as in western Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green, chopped parsley sprinkled on top. In southern and central Europe, parsley is part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used as an ingredient in stocks, soups, and sauces. Freshly chopped green parsley is used as a topping for soups such as chicken soup, green salads, or salads such as salade Olivier, and on open sandwiches with cold cuts or pâtés.
Persillade is a mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley in French cuisine.
Parsley is the main ingredient in Italian salsa verde, which is a mixed condiment of parsley, capers, anchovies, garlic, and bread soaked in vinegar. It is an Italian custom to serve it with bollito misto or fish. Gremolata, a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian veal stew, ossobuco alla milanese.
In England, parsley sauce is a roux-based sauce, commonly served over fish or gammon.
Root parsley is very common in Central, Eastern and Southern European cuisines, where it is used as a snack or a vegetable in many soups, stews, and casseroles, and as ingredient for broth.
In Brazil, freshly chopped parsley (salsa [ˈsawsɐ]) and freshly chopped scallion (cebolinha [sebuˈɫĩɲɐ]) are the main ingredients in the herb seasoning called cheiro-verde ([ˈʃejɾu ˈveʁdʒi], literally "green aroma"), which is used as key seasoning for major Brazilian dishes, including meat, chicken, fish, rice, beans, stews, soups, vegetables, salads, condiments, sauces and stocks. Cheiro-verde is sold in food markets as a bundle of both types of fresh herbs. In some Brazilian regions, chopped parsley may be replaced by chopped coriander (cilantro)(coentro [ˈkwẽtɾu]) in the mixture.
Parsley is a key ingredient in several Middle Eastern salads such as Lebanese tabbouleh.