Season your food with a pinch of gremolata,
a mixture of herbs and other seasonings.
Photo courtesy Aunt Nellie’s. Get the soup
Italy is known for its flavorful cuisine. One of the secrets is knowing how to use fresh herbs.
Gremolata (alternate spelling gremolada) is a lively fresh-chopped condiment that commonly includes parsley and/other green herbs, lemon zest and garlic.
It’s probably most familiar to Americans as the traditional accompaniment to osso bucco, a braised veal shank dish that’s a top-seller at Italian restaurants.
But it’s a great accent to many dishes. And because it’s so flavorful, you can cut back on salt.
Whether you’re serving meat (from lamb, pork or rib roast to veal and venison), poultry, pasta, potatoes and other vegetables (we love it with sautéed string beans), salad, risotto, soup or stew, a pinch of gremolata spices up any dish. The citrus note is perfect with white fish like cod and halibut to dark fish like mackerel (in fact, it’s great with any seafood). And it’s easy to make. Just chop and mix:
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
You can add sea salt; but we prefer to serve salt separately so that people can use it or not.
There are many variations to a basic gremolata. Mint, other green herbs, anchovies or chopped hazelnuts can be included. If cilantro will pick up your dish, for example, make a cilantro gremolata.
The varieties are only limited by the imagination of the cook. Here are some pointers:
For more citrusy flavor, add lemon juice and orange zest.
Use grapefruit, lime or orange zest instead of the lemon zest.
Add or substitute mint for the parsley with lamb dishes.
Add grated horseradish for beef dishes.
Substitute capers for garlic and basil for parsley, and serve with smoked salmon.
Add to breadcrumbs.
Make a gremolata crust for fish (delish).
Use it in olive oil as a marinade.
Some sources say that gremolata is the Italian word for chopped or ground. We haven’t found it in the dictionary, but chalk it up to dialect.