Parsley Salad (Μαϊντανοσαλάτα-Σύρου)

img_5330-1In Greek cuisine, dips are often referred to as a salad. This salad contains a most unusual main ingredient, one that is abundant, isn’t expensive, available everywhere and it’s a surprising taste sensation.

img_5327-1Want to surprise guests at your next dinner? Serve them some Parsley salad and see if they can guess what it’s made from! This salad is a specialty from the island of Syros. My first visit to Syros was in the early 90’s and this island is near Athens, it can be reached by plane or ferry boat and upon arriving into the main port of Ermoupoli, one is amazed at how big the main hora (town) is.ermoupoli

Homer mentions Syros in the Odyssey as “Syrii” and archaelogical findings on from the island date back to around 2800 BC. From looking at the size of Ermoupoli, it’s easy to fathom that this island and port was an important naval hub. Venetians once controlled the island, Turks conquered her but the island remained protected by France and the Vatican, what with it’s significant Catholic population.

Today, Syros has an equal amount of Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. Syros is the capital and administrative center for the Prefecture of the Cyclades. Many ferry boats stop off on this island and even if one isn’t paying a visit to Syros, the ferry boats are inundated with salesmen offering the passengers the local specialties of Loukoumia flavoured with rosewater (Loukoumia me Triantafyllo) and “halvadopites”, a nougat sandwiched between two thin wafers that taste much like an ice cream cone.

img_5328The focus of today’s post is however Syros’ Parsley Salad. I’ve known of this dip for awhile and I was skeptical of it’s taste until trying it just last year. Take a chance like I did and you will be rewarded with a delicious spread that’s perfect for Crostini or crusty bread, served as an hors d’oeuvres or a meze with a crisp, dry wine with some acidity or an Ouzo or Tsipouro.

To make this delicious dip, one only need a food processor, some day-old bread, garlic, capers, lemon juice, seasoning and for my own little twist, I added some almonds into the mix.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab a bunch of parsley and try out this whimsical dip. I’m making another batch today!

Parsley Salad (Μαϊντανοσαλάτα-Σύρου)img_5319

1 large bunch (or about 2 cups of fresh parsley)

1 medium red onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 Tbsp. of capers, drained

2 cups of crumbled day-old bread

approx. 3/4 to 1 cup extra–virgin olive oil

(depending on the consistency you like)

1/3 cup almonds, finely chopped

juice of 1/2 to 1  lemon

salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a food processor, add your chopped onion, garlic, parsley, capers  and process into a puree. Now add your bread, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and  and process until the mixture is amalgamated.
  2. Now slowly add your stream of olive oil until you achieve an smooth mixture that holds together. (The amount of olive oil used depends on the consistency you prefer and on how absorbant your bread is)
  3. Add more lemon juice according to taste, process. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve at room temperature on Crostini, toasted pita bread or rustic bread.

NOTE: Sometimes I have parsley from my garden with thin, tender stems. This part of the parsley is often ignored or tossed when there is some great flavour to be had. Tender, thin parsley stems can be used in this mixture.

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61 Comments for “Parsley Salad (Μαϊντανοσαλάτα-Σύρου)”

says:

Oh wow Peter! This parsley salad looks great! It’s like a pesto taken to the Greek Isles! I’m sure the lemon just makes this sing while the almonds add a nice robustness to it!
Thanks for sharing it and for the lovely info on Syros!

says:

Peter, Syros is one of my favourite islands and so beautiful! The parsley salad could also work as a dressing/sauce for a cold or even hot pasta, a type of greek pesto

says:

Although I’ve been to Syros several times I’ve never come across this salad and it sounds very interesting.

says:

ohhh i love this. in fact, i think this would be good as a salad w/o even using the food processor. but i love the ability to spread and dip. you’re so right – people would prob. be guessing what it’s made out of. yum.

says:

I never would have thought to use parsley like this, but I’m sold. I just planted some parsley in the backyard today. I know I will be trying this recipe. Thanks Peter!

says:

This sounds fab. Parsley is under utilized, with the assumption by many being that of just a garnish. I can’t wait to make this!

says:

I, too, will definitely be making this because I’m one who enjoys the taste of fresh parsley. And that bread it’s on looks mighty tasty. That and a glass of wine would make me very happy.

says:

Peter, I wish I could take a detour on my Surope trip to visit Syros as I love Parsley and made in such a was looks delicious.

Once I have had a similar dish made with cilantro, but without almonds and that was really nice too.

says:

I always have tons of parsley in my fridge, since I buy a bunch every week, and I’m too lazy to check and see if I need to or not! The photos are great, I really love the lighting on these photos, especially the first one.

says:

I’ve got a bunch of parsley plants growing in my garden and now I’ve got a dynamite quick recipe for them. I’ve never seen this before, but I know I’ll love it – I love all those ingredients. I throw parsley leaves into ordinary salads all the time. The photos are beautiful too.

says:

Yum! This is like improved tabouli, minus the chewy bulgar. I like the idea of it spread on crostini, or maybe served with little pita toasts to dip in it. Super good stuff here, Peter! Parsley rocks.

says:

Τhat’s a very interesting salad Peter, looks more like a dip!!
I’ve been in Syros island twice, a really beautiful island!!
Have a nice week!!

says:

MMMM…Peter! How lovely this is!! Green& very summery,….Yum!
Indeed, it is great as an appetizer or to eat like that with some good bread & butter! yum Yum Yum!!

says:

So simple Peter, and I bet it’s packed with a ton of flavor, I love the almonds in there too. Can’t wait till all my parsley starts getting big!

says:

I’m definitely going to try this. I’ve never heard of it before. I guess you could stir the leftovers through pasta too like a pesto.

says:

I haven’t seen parsley salad in a long time, but I never saw one the color of yours. This is a must try. Those are gorgeous pictures, Peter.

says:

Great recipe Peter. I am happy to have it as my parsley is ready to go to seed therefore I need to pinch off a bunch before it does. Will have to try and I love capers. Just bought a huge chunk of Feta to make your Baked Feta again, and again, and again. Can’t get enough of it!

says:

This looks absolutely perfect. Wish I had some parsley in the house now.

We have our local Greek Orthodox Church’s big, annual festival starting Friday. All the grandmas compete at making delicious foods which are available cafe-style or to take home. I can’t wait.

says:

I’m loving this dip Peter! We have similar ones here… Mediterranean culture… :D We Catalans usually add this dips (picades) at the end of some dishes and if you haven’t tried that, you should! You would love it!!!! If you have some leftover, trust me, add it at the end of a meat stew, or fish, or whatever you think it could fit… and tell me about it :D. Only cook it for 3 to 5 minutes.

says:

I just stumbled across your blog. It was a suggestion in my Google Reader. Your recipes look delicious and I can’t wait to give a few of them a try. I look forward to seeing what you post next.

says:

Yes, it’s like a sort of pesto… I love this idea, I love dips… Don’t be surprised if you see this one one day En direct d’Athenes ;)
Syros is a great island !
Where are you going to travel this year ?

says:

This sounds very much a “My” kinda spread, esp. with the almond in it. Lovely versatile recipe, ready to be used in any way i want.

says:

Definitely my kind of thing, Peter. I love the freshness of it all, and the fabulous colour. Seems like a bit of a cross between pesto and tabbouleh, with its own uniqueness, too!

says:

Aii, like a pesto, quite lovely. And isn’t parsley under-rated, really, so often sprinkled in rather than the star?

I did do a big parsley salad on Sunday when Dinner for Two turned into Supper for Ten just like that. I had a tiny head of lettuce so went scrounging and found a big bunch of parsley and a big bunch of cilantro and tossed it with marinated Brussels sprouts in a simple vinaigrette. People were saying, What IS in this salad?

PS Your Blogger profile is still tied to your old site.

says:

Oh what a great salad Peter. When I first looked at the pictures on my Google reader I was wondering what it was and I was surprised to find out it was made with parsley. I bet it tastes amazing!

says:

Truthfully I have never thought of parsley salad which is sad. I have a parsley plant that just grows and grows and grows but am always at a loss for uses.

p.s. nice use of the word amalgamated.

says:

Hi there, how have you been? Long time no see.
N this dip-cum-salad…looks absolutely scrumptious…esp with almonds.
Thanks for sharing ! :)

says:

Parsley salads are nice! I like the use of the bread in this one as it would give it a nice texture and consistency. The capers would also add a ton of flavour.

Sifi

says:

Hi Peter- I am enjoying the new version of kalofagas! This is a great recipe. (There is entirely too much parsley wasted in this world, thrown out from fridges after only one use from a large bunch.) I would suggest black walnuts as a sub for the almonds. Thanks!

says:

Done. I’m SO trying this out. I’m a sucker for such spreads. And since I’m on the bread baking challenge, I need this. no? :D

Andreas

says:

We’ll try it tomorrow (got plenty of parsley in the garden!) Great idea..Never been to Syros even though my boat stopped there on its way to Rodos..Thanks Peter!