A humble garnish most of the year, parsley elbows its way into the kitchen every spring when the garden’s overwintered plants bolt and the sheer mass of green simply must be dealt with. Sure, you can make tabbouleh. Deborah Madison describes her recipe as “moist and intensely green, practically a parsley salad”, and it’s earthy and hearty, a lovely way to use that first flush of spring mint besides.

But then what?

I casted about for ideas. A friend suggested chimichurri, which I dutifully concocted for grilled steaks. Tasty. Still, there was plenty more parsley. Much more. I consulted my cookbooks; English chef Simon Hopkinson suggests a potato-based parsley soup, which sounded too frankly plain, as well as a parsley salad tossed with anchovies, olives, and capers. I wasn’t sure about that either, but after noting a similar Alice Waters recipe, I allowed that there might be something I didn’t know about here.

Indeed. We adored this bright, briny, green pasta, which matches wonderfully with fresh tuna. And it’s so easy to make that I’m glad — dare I say — this year’s parsley seedlings have broken ground.

Green Fettucine with Briny Tuna

½ pound tuna steak / 1 garlic clove, minced / 1 tbls capers / 10 or so olives, chopped roughly / 1 lemon / ½ cup parsley, chopped finely / ½ pound fettucine / ¼ cup olive oil / salt & pepper to taste

Slice tuna thinly. Zest the lemon, then slice off the ends, cut away the white pith, and slice the remaining flesh into rounds. Begin cooking the pasta.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Swirl 1 tbls of the oil in the pan, then saute tuna until no longer raw, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, capers, olives, and lemon zest and rounds and cook, stirring, for another minute or so. When pasta is ready, drain and toss tuna with pasta, parsley, and remaining olive oil. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Feeds 2. Adapted from Alice Waters and Simon Hopkinson.

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