Saturday, January 10, 2015

Kitchen 101- Gremolata

Food trends come and go but every good cook needs a few of the basics under their belt. What are the basics? A handful of really good sauces- pan sauces, a marinara-type sauce, gravy, a good basic pastry dough, and condiments. One good mustard, handmade mayonnaise and something herby. 

What are herby condiments? Chimichurri is a very hot trend right now. Used as a finishing sauce or a marinade, chimichurri brings a bright green pop of color and flavor to the plate. Pesto is a true classic. Italian cooks have been using this herb, oil, cheese and nut mixture to dress up everything from a humble pasta dish to elaborate and complex dishes. Gremolata is unlike the first two herby condiments in that it's a "dry" mixture- chopped herbs, citrus zest and garlic that is sprinkled over a dish to add that fresh note. 

It's hard to believe something so simple, so uncomplicated can bring such a huge impact on a dish. Three simple ingredients come together and transform whatever you sprinkle it on. It's the traditional finish for Osso Buco and makes braised, roasted or grilled meats really stand out. Use it to top all sorts of things- fresh vegetables, pasta, fish and seafood. Let's make some.

You will need-

1 small bunch parsley (1 cup loosely packed)
1 large clove garlic
2 lemons, scrub the outside well

Place the parsley on a large wooden board. Using a chef's knife or santoku knife, finely chop the parsley until you have about one half cup finely minced parsley. If you are as obsessed with knives as I am and own a mezzaluna, this is a GREAT time to use it!

Using a microplane grater, grate the garlic clove over the parsley on the board. 

Use the same grater to zest the lemons onto the board as well. Save a step and don't wash the grater in between- it's all going in the same bowl anyway. Then finish by chopping further with the knife to make sure everything is very finely minced and combined. The gremolata is ready to use.

That's it- super simple and once you have tried it, you'll make it again and again. It's fantastic sprinkled on a sizzling hot steak. You can also use it to make a fabulous compound butter for even more versatility. I love gremolata so much more than chimichurri or pesto. I like to use it for salad dressings too- just add some to a basic vinaigrette and you have a fresh, delicious. 

Give it a try and share your ideas and how you liked using it- I love hearing from you!

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