This roasted porgy fillet at Distilled NY has
gremolata on top, raisin purée on the
bottom. Photo courtesy Distilled NY.
Gremolata is a fresh condiment that originated in Italian cuisine. It is too-little-known in the U.S., and may be most familiar to Americans as the accompaniment to osso bucco, braised veal shank.
The condiment consists simply of fresh chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic. The addition of other green herbs is optional; we add basil or mint when we have it on hand.
It has such lively flavor that you can cut back on salt. A pinch of gremolata spices up almost any dish:
Fish and seafood
Meat and poultry: lamb, pork, rib roast, veal, venison
Pasta and risotto
Salad and cooked vegetables (we love gremolata with sautéed
Soups and stews
CLASSIC & MODERN GREMOLATA
Gremolata (also spelled gremolada) is a relatively new condiment. According to Merriam-Webster, it first appeared in 1954, derived from the Italian dialect of Lombardy. What we don’t know is why these words were used (any guesses?):
Gremolaa, from gremolâ or gràmolâ, to mix or knead flour for dough.
Grêmola or grâmola, an apparatus for kneading dough, a flax or hemp brake*.
Use grapefruit, lime or orange zest instead of the lemon zest.
With lamb dishes, add or substitute mint for the parsley.
With beef dishes, add grated horseradish or well-drained prepared horseradish.
With smoked salmon or deep-flavored fish (bluefish, herring mackerel, sardines), substitute capers
Here’s the classic gremolata recipe with precise measurements. You can update the recipe, tailoring it to specific dishes, by substituting ingredients:
for the garlic, basil for the parsley.
It’s great on an anchovy pizza.
Add to breadcrumbs and make a gremolata crust for fish.
RECIPE: GOLDEN RAISIN PURÉE
Some people use raisin purée as a substitute for refined sugar in baking. But it also complements grilled proteins, as Chef Sean Lyons of Distilled NY shows in the photo above.
You can also use it as a dessert sauce, and you can replace the raisins with dried blueberries, cherries or cranberries.
1 cup raisins
Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg or other favorite spice
Optional: a splash or brandy
For dessert purée: Grand Marnier or other fruit liqueur* to taste
1. PLACE the raisins in a small pan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes until the raisins are plump.
Golden raisins, also called sultanas. You can substitute dried blueberries, cherries or cranberries in the purée. Photo courtesy Snack Farms.
2. DRAIN the raisins, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the raisins and 1 tablespoon of the cooking liquid in a food processor or high powered blender and puree for 1 minute until completely smooth. Remove the purée from the food processor.
3. SIEVE the purée for additional smoothness, if desired. Keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to a month.
*A device to break down the straw or stalks of flax and hemp.
†You can match dried cherries with cherry liqueur, dried cranberries with cranberry liqueur.