Fishing around for something to make for dinner the other night, or more accurately for something to spice up dinner, I made a quick gremolata on the counter top. Gremolata, the traditional garnish for osso bucco, is a simple fine chop of fresh parsley, lemon and garlic. The beauty of it is that it’s stunningly simple, has loads of flavor, and requires only three kitchen basics to make. Four if you count the chef’s knife. I used a handful of parsley, 2 cloves of garlic, and maybe half a lemon. Normally you can just zest the lemon, but since I was using one of my preserved Meyer lemons, I just minced it up with the rest of the ingredients. A sprinkle of kosher salt, which helps the mincing, and you’re done. If you don’t have the ingredients (or the hours) to make osso bucco, or like me, you’ve become an accidental vegetarian these days, gremolata is great atop a bowl of white bean soup or toasted bulgur or a grilled fish. Gremolata is faster than pesto, without all the oil or nuts or cheese of that lovely sauce, and thus brighter and nicely assertive. Here’s the link to an LAT story I wrote in 2006 about gremolata, etc. with recipes. Or here’s a simple one:
MEYER LEMON GREMOLATA
1/2 of a preserved Meyer lemon, pith removed
1 large handful of flat-leaf Italian parsley, washed and stemmed
2 cloves of garlic
pinch of kosher salt
1. With a sharp chef’s knife on a clean cutting board, cut the lemon into long thin strips (julienne). Mound the parsley, garlic and salt over the lemon and chop. Keep cutting until finely minces, or as finely as you want it to be. Serve immediately.
Variations: substitute any fresh herbs; use the zest from fresh lemons, limes or oranges or mince fresh kumquats; add more or less garlic. You can also vary the proportions, but you want all three ingredients to be fully represented.
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