Gremolata is traditionally used as a topping for ossobuco alla milanese (braised veal shank) but it is also used as a topping for fish or soup, vegetables such as tomatoes, or green asparagus sauteed in olive oil or green beans or bean salads. Even scrambled eggs.
Even plain rice or pasta dishes are boosted up a few notches of ‘wow effect’ with gremolata stirred in with a fork just before serving.
Following is the traditional recipe, however other citrus fruits such as lime, orange or grapefruit can be used. Versions include adding basil or mint for part of the parsley, or sage. Oh, and imagine orange zest and mint with the parsley!
So, here it is (enough for two for a simple pasta dish):
- flat leaf parsley, roughly a small mound in one hand (about one cup of loosely packed leaves only), rinsed and dried
- 2 organic lemons, zest only
- 1 fresh garlic clove finely minced
Finely chop the parsley – which will now be less than 1/2 cup – add the zest and the minced garlic. Stir, that’s it. The ratio is easy enough to remember. One good open handful of parsley to one garlic clove and 2 lemons or 1+1=2 (lemons). A good rule to remember is 1 lemon per person.
Tip: If you wish to have a large amount on hand to used over a few days, leave out the garlic, but add an appropriate amount when you take out a portion of the parsley and zest. For pasta dishes, I prefer to leave the garlic out of the gremolata. I first toast several slices of garlic in the olive oil before adding the pasta and gremolata. Off the heat, of course!
Added to just about anything you would normally add parsley and garlic to, gremolata gives a fresh, bright ping to any dish.