Think of the three most common ingredients that every cook keeps in the refrigerator or the pantry. Separately they’re just your usual ingredients. One is acidic and known to bring out the flavor in foods. It’s also yellow and makes good lemonade.
Another is what adds a beautiful flavor to dishes, but is neither an herb nor a spice. It comes as individual cloves packed into a whole bulb.
And the third is used a lot to garnish soups and such. And it’s vibrantly green.
By now you’ve probably guessed them. They are lemon, garlic, and parsley, three most common ingredients in everyone’s kitchen. Except when these three ingredients come together there’s nothing common about it.
When these three ingredients come together, they make gremolata, one of the easiest, yet greatest condiments for roast and braised meats, but not only.
Gremolata can be sprinkled generously over seafood too, can also be made into a terrific marinade with adding just a bit of olive oil, and is a tasty salad dressing when vinegar is included.
From Italy with love
Gremolata is a classic Italian condiment, traditionally served with osso buco, which is a fine braised veal dish made with white wine and broth and garnished with gremolata.
Osso buco is one of the most appreciated stews in Italy, although you couldn’t tell it’s so by the name it carries.
Osso buco literally translates as ‘bone with a hole’, which is exactly what the type of veal used to cook this dish offers: a hole at the center of the veal shank that contains edible marrowbone. This marrowbone is what provides the dish with rich flavor.
Italians often serve osso buco using a marrow spoon to extract this delicious tissue inside the bone more easily.
In Milan, where the dish originates, people serve it with rice. And Gremolata is always used plentifully to garnish the dish.
How to make Gremolata
Gremolata is that easy to make it doesn’t even need a recipe. The only thing that requires a bit more work is finely chopping the parsley and garlic, but make Gremolata enough times, and you’ll be chopping those ingredients like the world’s greatest chef.
What not to do is use a food processor. This won’t only destroy the texture of parsley, but might also induce a bitter flavor to the garlic, entirely running the condiment. It’s better to have your ingredients bigger chunks and your sauce tasting amazing than the other way around.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, all that you need to do is combine the three ingredients.
- The parsley – 1 small bunch washed, dried and finely minced.
- The garlic – 1 clove of garlic skin-off, grated or finely chopped.
- The lemon – zest from two lemons grated on top of the garlic.
Use Gremolata to make meatballs too. They’ll come out a brighter color and more flavorful. Or sprinkle over salad with some shaved parmesan. You can add breadcrumbs for a crunch take to the classic recipe and season with salt and pepper to your liking.