Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Classic Gremolata

It has been said that, "you can't have a fancy food blog without a recipe that has something topped with gremolata."   While I don't have a fancy food blog, I still felt it was necessary to include a recipe with something with this flavorful topping.  A classic gremolata consists of three ingredients: flat leaf parsley, garlic and lemon zest.  There are other optional ingredients, such as salt and pepper.

The origin of gremolata is lost to history, although it is suggested that the term originates from the French word, gremolade.  Notwithstanding its obscure history, the gremolata has a key place in Italian cuisine.  It is the key accompaniment to Osso Bucco alla Milanese, where it tops a braised veal shank.  Gremolata has also found its way onto other Italian dishes.  Indeed, over time, it seems that Gremolata has become to Italian cuisine what Chimichurri is to Argentine cuisine or a Persillade is to French cuisine.  

The key to a Gremolata, as it is to a Chimichurri or Persillade is to use  the freshest ingredients available.  If that flat leaf parsley looks a little limp, set it aside for another use. If the garlic has been sitting around a little too long, turn it into roast garlic for a different dish.  If you lemons have been sitting in the basket for too long, make lemonade, not gremolata.  

Once you have the freshest ingredients, make the topping right before you plan on serving it.  It only takes about 5 minutes to make and then use it right away.  I used it on a steak that I cooked under a broiler.  The steak was rubbed with complimentary flavors (ground onion, ground garlic, kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper).  If you don't have a steak, you can still use this topping on any number of dishes, from grilled or braised meats such chicken, lamb or pork to grilled fish.  The simplicity of this recipe translates into a flexible condiment that can add a lot of flavor to a wide range of dishes.

If you happen to have left over gremolata, you can use it within a day.   That should be enough inspiration to cook something else.  If you don't use it within a day, the topping will start to go bad because of the wilting of the parsley.

Recipe from The Kitchn
Makes 1/3 cup

1 small bunch of parsley, washed and dried (1 cup loosely packed)
1 clove of garlic, skin removed
2 organic lemons, washed and dried

1.  Prepare the parsley.  Remove the leaves from the parsley until you have enough to make 1 cup when loosely packed.  Chop the parsley until it is nearly finely chopped.  The parsley should be less than 1/2 cup.

2.  Add the garlic.    Use a microplane or fine toothed grater to grate the garlic clove over the parsley.

3.  Add the lemon.  Usingthe same microplane or grater, zest two lemons on top of the garlic.

4.  Finish the chopping.  Continue to chop the parsley, mixing in the garlic and lemon until the parsley is chopped very fine.

5.  Use the gremolata.  Use the gremolata right away.   Serve it on Ossobucco alla Milanese, or any grilled or braised meat dish.   You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one day.

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