Parsley and Parmesan Broth with Crabmeat Salad

Full of flavor, and we didn’t waste a thing!

One of the joys of having an accomplished chef and restauranteur for a mother-in-law was the abundance of knowledge of little techniques along the way from her, often just by eating what she served. It was always incredible, always memorable, and never skimped on calories, carbs, or fat! Boy did she love feeding us all.

A lasting legacy

 While we no longer have Pat, her memory lives on in her food. Her legacy is the delight of family, friends, and countless guests at her restaurants over the years. I inherited her cookbooks and her notebooks of her own recipes and menus for the restaurants, all meticulously priced out so she knew what each portion cost down to the penny! She was, after all, a business woman as well as an incredible chef!

No waste

Pat made use of every scrap of food, always making her own stocks from vegetable scraps from the kitchen. She also saved the left-over rinds after the Parmesan cheese was consumed, and I follow her lead on that one; she tucked them in pasta sauce to add lovely flavor. She made a vegetable broth using these rinds as well. This simmered for hours so every drop of Parmesan flavor would be extracted, and she served this chilled with a little mound of crabmeat salad that had a bit of heat just to liven things up. Simple, but elegant enough to serve as a starter for a summer wedding!

A broth of parsley?

What I don’t remember ever having was her Parsley Broth. It might have been used in a restaurant dish, or even in a soup she made for me! I found the notes scrawled in one of her books. It, too, was simple, just carrot, onion, celery, and parsley and a few herbs. Simple, but full of flavor, and making use of all those parsley stems, most likely from the restaurant service.

Let’s combine it all together

I thought it might be fun to combine the parsley and Parmesan broths since they held many of the same base ingredients. The memory of the crab salad nudged me, so the combination of all three sounded great, and it was. I enjoyed the subtle flavor of the Parmesan, the parsley, and the crab as well, with nothing overtaking the rest. The zesty crab salad is a nice little pick me up in the middle of the bowl. I used Maine peekytoe rock crab, but you can use any local or domestic crab you like.

Use it all up

I had four Parmesan rinds (about 10 ounces) tucked in the freezer, and that provided a nice flavor to eight cups of liquid. I tossed all the trimmings from the vegetables in the stock along with the rinds, and if I had picked my own crabmeat, I would have tossed those shells in as well! Flavor, flavor, flavor. Never waste it.

By the way, this serves 4 as a main course with some crusty bread, $5.12 per serving (I’d add glass of sauvignon blanc), or eight as a starter, $2.56. Pat would approve.

Parsley and Parmesan Broth with Crabmeat Salad

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large bunch parsley
  • 1 sweet onion, rough chop
  • 1 small carrot, rough chop
  • 2 stalks celery, rough chop
  • 3 cloves garlic, rough chop
  • 2 scallions, yes, rough chop
  • 2 bay leaves
  • About 8 to 10 oz. Parmesan rinds, more or less
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 7 cups water
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz. rock crab meat
  • 1 tbsp. minced hot red pepper, or a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. finely minced scallions
  • 1 organic lemon

            Prep the vegetables. Shave off the leaves from the parsley, reserve a small amount (you’ll need about a tablespoon finely minced for the finished broth) and chop the rest and the stems. Roughly chop the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and scallions, leaving the skins or peelings on them. Reserve a little pile of the scallions as well for the crab salad.

            Heat a soup pot over medium high and add the olive oil. Sauté the onion, carrot, and celery until soft. Add the garlic, scallions, and bay leaves and cook another minute or so, then deglaze the pan with the wine.

            Add the Parmesan rinds, the parsley and stems, and water, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a low simmer, and cook for at least two hours. If you do this on the top of the stove, have it at the lowest simmer and stir now and then or the Parmesan will stick to the bottom of the pot. You can also do this in an oven, or in a crock pot on high for a little longer. The broth will have a lovely but not overpoweriong flavor of Parmesan when ready.

            Strain. Once strained, add the tablespoon of reserved finely minced parsley and the zest of the lemon finely grated.

            Combine the crabmeat with the minced red pepper, a tsp. of finely minced scallion, the juice from the lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.

As a chilled starter for a summer dinner, this can be made the day before and a simple garnish the night of!

            Serve this hot or cold! Ladle the broth into the bowl and add a small mound of the crab salad, garnishing with a few more parsley leaves, and maybe an edible flower or two. 

Don’t waste a thing! Save all those Parmesan rinds, there’s always a ton of flavor there.

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  1. Looks wonderful!

    1. Thank you so much! It was really good.

  2. Michael says:

    Yummy! Thanks for sharing, Dorothy! Isn’t there also a quote like “Crab diem!” Lol Happy Fourth of July! xx Michael

    1. Happy Fourth to you too Michael, and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Gail says:

    It sounds full of flavor. I need to try it sometime. The aromas alone would drive me cray-cray. 😋🌿

    1. Thanks Gail. The aroma is really wonderful!

  4. Never waste anything! What an amazing flavor it must have! 😋

    1. Thank you Ribana! It was absolutely delicious, and I’m making this again for sure!

  5. leggypeggy says:

    Great way to celebrate the 4th. Thanks.

    1. Thank you! It was nice and light on a hot day.

  6. NativeNM says:

    What a great story! Your mother in law sounds like a wonderful mentor who was also a savvy business woman. I love how you blended the flavors together to make your own broth and crabmeat salad. Have a wonderful 4th!

    1. Thank you Jan! Have a delightful day as well!

  7. his makes for a delicious light meal. Love the ingredients you used.

    1. Thank you! It is a nice light summer soup, especially when chilled.

  8. Ronit says:

    I can imagine how aromatic and tasty this soup is, not to mention so healthy. Parmesan rinds add such wonderful aroma and flavor to soups.
    Happy 4th of July! 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! A lovely combination indeed. We celebrated with family over the weekend, so today is quite quiet. Hope you have a lovely day!

  9. In Italy it is often considered sacrilege to combine cheese with seafood, but this combination of parmigiano, crab, and parsley intrigues!

    1. Well, I’m of French lineage, and we don’t have that rule, thank goodness, Even when we use an Italian cheese! It’s a lovely combo.

      1. Have you ever tried mussels with roquefort? Sounds crazy but amazing (and served in French restaurants).

      2. Yes I have Stefan, and it is a favorite way to eat mussels, and with lots of shallots! So delicious, and thank you for reminding me because I haven’t made them in ages! You don’t need a lot of the cheese either for the best flavor.

  10. Chef Mimi says:

    Well thank goodness the Italian culinary police don’t check out our kitchens every time we cook! I have a favorite pasta dish that combines shrimp, tomatoes, ricotta, and feta. And it’s no sacrilege! It’s pure deliciousness. So is this!

    1. I know! I console myself that my heritage is French, and we frequently use cheese with seafood! I also have it on good authority that Northern Italians are not opposed to the combo! Parm on sauteed shrimp is one of my absolute favorites!

  11. HI Dorothy, this is a most interesting recipe. I’ve never actually bought parmesan in any form other than crumbs so I’ve never even seen the rinds. I wonder if I could just add some parmesan instead of using rinds?

    1. Yes, you could just add some Parm right to the broth and you would get the same flavor profile.

      1. Thanks, Dorothy, that is what I’ll do.

  12. Suzassippi says:

    And as always, the dish it is served in is a delicious as the dish to be eaten! I love the design on the soup bowl and the color is perfect!

    1. Thank you! I love those bowls. My daughter urged me to buy them when we were shopping at a flea market. She said I told her not to pass by the things we love! It was a complete set of eight and a little more than I wanted to pay, but I haggled a bit, and I’ve used them many, many times, so it was a good buy.

  13. Beth says:

    I love this idea of using up what you have to make a summer supper! Is there a substitute for the Parmesan rinds? I don’t buy whole blocks of Parmesan as they are not practical for my small cooking amounts. Thank you for sharing this recipe and your MIL’s story!

    1. You could just make the parsley broth and add Parmesan right to it, you would still have a lot of flavor.

  14. Sowmya says:

    Looks appetizing Dorothy

    1. Thank you so much Sowmya! We loved it.

  15. Carolyn Page says:

    Wonderful and sweet memories of a mother-in-law and dear friend, Dorothy. I truly enjoyed reading about Pat. And to have all her cookery tips and tricks is a sweet souvenir of a generous and savvy chef. I know you must feel very honoured and fortunate.
    As for the recipe – another one to copy and paste into ‘Dorothy’s Recipes’.

  16. Amanda says:

    How fortunate you are to have the inspiration from your mother-in-law. I love that she knew all these saving ways with food. Definitely a lead to follow. Those recipe books must be a treasure!

    1. Thank you Amanda! The books are certainly part of my treasure trove!

  17. I always learn something reading your posts, and keeping the cheese rinds was my ‘aha’ moment today.

    1. What a nice thing to say Judy! I love sharing what I learn with others, and it is nice to know you pick up some hints from my blog.
      Have a lovely day! 💕

  18. Nancy Richy says:

    This looks very interesting and quite delicious. I’m usually not a fan of cheese with fish but this looks like it will work. Lovely presentation, too!

    1. Thank you Nancy! All the flavors are subtle and they work beautifully together.

  19. Nancy says:

    Looks like my kind of meal!

    1. Thank you Nancy! Mine too!

  20. Christy B says:

    Your mother in law sounds amazing, and her recipes live on through you xx I don’t like to throw anything away, that’s for sure. Food prices just keep going up!

    1. Every little bit helps Christy!

  21. Sherry M says:

    such a wonderful idea to save and use up what often gets thrown away. i try hard these days to re-use and save foods. a lot of stuff gets blitzed and chucked into the freezer including herbs and veg and even apples!

    1. One of my favorite practices is to routinely make my own vegetable stock, either the day of making the soup or stew or to tuck in the freezer. Vegetable stock in store for one quart $5. Vegetable stock made from my kitchen scraps, a few pennies of power on the stove. Plus, I know what goes in it!

  22. nancyc says:

    This sounds like a nice light and healthy meal–perfect for summer! 🙂

    1. Thank you Nancy. It is beautifully light and full of flavor.

  23. terrie gura says:

    Truly living out the “waste nothing” rule, this is amazing! I have no doubt that broth is flavorful, whether served hot or chilled. You have the best ideas!

    1. Thank you Terrie! This idea with a little help from Pat!

  24. Americaoncoffee says:

    I want some now!❤️❤️❤️❤️

    1. I’ve saved you a bowl!

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