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!
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.
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.
© Copyright 2022– or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to The New Vintage Kitchen, with active link and direction to this original post.
The New Vintage Kitchen does not accept ads or payment for mention of products or businesses.