Parsley is a relatively mild herb that is most popular for its appearance, which makes it an attractive and versatile garnish. Less commonly, it is used for its flavor which can be bright and almost citrusy when used in reasonable quantities. If you have accidentally added too much to a dish, the herbaceous quality that makes it so appealing can be transformed into a bitter undertone that may ruin a meal. To save a dish with too much parsley, consider one of these fixes.
Dilution is the easiest way to neutralize the taste of too much parsley in a dish. By adding more of all the ingredients in your dish aside from the parsley, you can balance the flavors and eliminate the herbaceous bitterness. It will be easier to do this with a soup since most of the dish consists of liquid. You can simply add more stock to reduce the concentration of the parsley and then re-season with any other herbs and spices in your recipe. You may be able to follow this principle with a stew, marinara sauce, or any other “wet dish.” With a marinara sauce, you can dilute by adding more tomato.
Along with being an effective diluent, dairy is relatively bland and thus able to neutralize a wide range of flavors while also giving your dish a creamy texture. While it may not be appropriate for all dishes that include parsley, it can work with some. It is most effective if the dish already includes dairy in some form; in which case, just add a little more.
Physically remove it
As soon as you recognize your error, remove as much of the parsley as you can. If you are using fresh parsley as a garnish, simply pick some of the leaves off if you have added too much. Physical removal will also be relatively easy if you are using a bouquet garni, which is designed to make the removal of herbs and spices easy. If you are dealing with chopped parsley, consider using a slotted spoon or strainer to skim off as much of the herb as possible. Removal can help to keep the problem from getting worse.
Cook it out
One of parsley’s drawbacks as a seasoning is the fact that it does not stand up well to long cooking times. This can be an advantage if you have used too much of it. Simply add a few minutes to your cooking time to tone down the flavor. This can be especially helpful in dishes where you physical removal is impossible or too time-consuming.
Since the overuse of parsley tends to result in a bitter dish, you can use a sweetener to cancel out some or all of the bitterness. Try a little sugar or honey. Add it in small amounts and taste after each addition to keep from making your dish too sweet.
If you do not have a problem with spicy food, you can try using a little heat to mask the taste of the extra parsley. In a marinara sauce, you can add a few slices of jalapeño or some crushed red pepper flakes. As with the sweetener, you will need to exercise caution to keep from going overboard.
Garlic is a pungent spice that has the ability to overpower most other flavors. For many people, garlic is also easier to tolerate when it is used in excess compared to other spices. If you like garlic, consider using it to mask the flavor of the parsley.