The Bitoun brothers–Jacques, Maurice, André, and Simon–ran a number of restaurants around the New Orleans area for many years, severally and in concert. Their best-remembered dish was a complimentary appetizer: a basket of fried parsley. Maurice called it “French popcorn.” It was much better than you could imagine, and intrigues everyone who eats it.
There are two tricks. First, this works better when the oil has been used previously, especially if it has fried chicken. Second, curly-leaf parsley is essential to holding the batter better.
- 1 quart canola oil
- 2 bunches curly-leaf parsley
- 2/3 cup flour
- 2 Tbs. salt-free Creole seasoning
- 1 Tbs. salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
1. Heat the canola oil in a large saucepan to 350 degrees.
2. Wash the parsley well, and shake dry. Cut off the bottom parts of the stems.
3. Combine the flour, Creole seasoning, and salt in a bowl, blending it with a fork. Whisk the egg and the milk together in a second, much larger bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and whisk to make a thin batter. Add a little water if necessary to make the batter runny.
4. Toss the parsley around in the batter to coat. Shake off excess batter. Carefully drop the parsley into the hot oil and fry until it just begins to brown–just about a minute. Drain on paper towels and serve hot. Serve instantly.