Sauce Persley

Sauce percely. Take perceley, and grynde hit wiþ vynegre & a litel brede and salt, and strayne it þurgh a straynour, and serue it forþe. Ashmole MS. 1439, Sauces, Recipe 14.

Parsley Sauce. Take parsley, and grind it with vinegar and a little bread and salt, and strain it through a strainer, and serve it forth.

This is an excellent recipe to have around for those terrifying occasions when you are running a feast, extra people show up, and you realise the food you’re preparing won’t serve everybody. Parsley is easy to get hold of, and you will probably have the other ingredients to hand. Purchase some ready roasted chickens (like the one in the photograph below), and you should be OK.

It’s also really tasty, so it’s a great one to include in any feast anyway.


1 cup/bunch parsley leaves approx. 150mL wine vinegar
approx. 20g breadcrumbs Salt to taste


  1. Using a mortar and pestle or blender, pulverise the parsley, salt and vinegar to form a paste. Add more vinegar as necessary.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs and continue to pulverise to mix everything together.
  3. If you used the mortar and pestle, push through a rigid, fine mesh strainer to ensure the sauce is smooth.
  4. Serve at room temperature. It goes well with any poultry or fish.


  • This is a recipe where using a mortar and pestle can actually be easier than a blender, and the end paste is generally mushy enough that passing it through a strainer is relatively easy (and results in a much smoother sauce). If you prefer to use power tools, I would recommend a stab mixer – the parsley tends to spin away from the blades of a blender too quickly.
  • If you find the taste of the sauce too sour from the vinegar, you can add more breadcrumbs, or honey or lemon juice. Honey is sweet and will counteract the sourness. Lemon juice is also sour, but has a different flavour profile which also counters the vinegar. Don’t add water, which will just make the sauce runny without doing a thing about the vinegar. However, remember it’s going to be served with meat, and the extra tartness from the vinegar pairs well with most meats.

Sauce Persley

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.

Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books.

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