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Parsley is delicious if stir-fried with sufficient garlic. It is one of a number of small dishes I prepare to eat with congee. Such dishes should be somewhat strong in flavor and small in quantity.
  1. Take one good-sized bunch (about one inch through the bunched stems) of parsley (preferably Italian parsley) and wash it.

  2. Cut off and discard the thick part of the stems, leaving mostly leaves and fine branchlets. (You can use the stems, too, but be aware that they add more pungency and crunchiness, and possibly toughness.

  3. Coarsely chop what you have not discarded of the parsley.

  4. Finely chop 2-3 cloves of garlic.

  5. Begin stir-frying the garlic in a tablespoon or two of olive oil. When the garlic starts to pale in color, throw in the chopped parsley and stir-fry. If the garlic turns brown, it's too late - better start again with fresh garlic.

  6. Italian parsley has a tough leaf and may cook slowly. You don't want mushy leaves, but this dish is hard on the jaws if the leaves are not fully cooked. If you are impatient, add some stock and cover till fully cooked.

  7. Add salt to taste, stir again well to mix the salt, and serve. This recipe makes one small dish, certainly too little to fill one person. My wife and I often eat this with a second vegetable, a half pound or so of baked fish, and rice in bowls. Or we eat it with congee and three to six other small dishes.

If you like, try adding lean ground beef after the garlic and before the parsley. Add the parsley only after the beef is nearly done. Make sure the beef doesn't clump together as you're cooking it. A little rice wine or dry sherry ("fino") with the beef is good, too.

I think the beef+sherry improves the dish, but my wife usually insists on the straight vegetable preparation. With beef added I call this dish "ma3yi3 ta4qing1" ("ants treading on the green"). Maybe you'd better not tell that to your guests.

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