Thursday, February 14, 2013

Goin' Green; Spring Green That Is - Gremolata

Well, it's official - 12 days ago Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and spring is on the way.  Or at least, it is suppose to be.  I am beginning to think that Punxsutawney's predictive powers propose no promise of pacifying the North Pacific's propensity for protracting it's piercingly polar presence.  Then again, knowing that nefarious Nor'easter that nailed New England, it's fair to figure that Phil's forest floor forecast is faulty.

But even though it seems that Spring won't "spring" for another six weeks hence, there is no reason that you cannot "taste" springtime on a plate.  I am speaking of the infamous gremolata.  For nothing tastes quite as "green" as gremolata.  OK, Pesto tastes green too, but I have already posted about that.  :)

Gremolata recipes are fairly varied, but it's safe to say that they ALWAYS contain lemon zest.  Without the lemon zest, Gremolata looses it's sunny disposition and tastes more like a rainy day.  Which is sad indeed.  As far as other ingredients are concerned, there is a little more fluidity.  Usually it involves some combination of Garlic, Mint and Parsley; mainly because Gremolata is the key ingredient in Ossobucco alla Milanese (braised veal shank).  Tone down the Mint, or remove it completely, and Gremolata's verdant visage is a welcome addition to seafood and vegetables as well.

I take a little bit more of a pesto route when I make Gremolata and include nuts, pistachios in particular, but they are not necessary.  I do this because Gremolata is devoid of both cheese and olive oil, unlike Pesto Genovese, and the nuts give the "sauce" a little more body and substance without "pesto-izing" it too much.  But that is just my own personal preference.

My newest favorite vehicle for Gremolata conveyance is the Cauliflower "steak".  But as I stated earlier, it is also magically delicious over shrimp and fish.


1 bunch of Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley (none of that soapy tasting curly stuff)
2-3 cloves of Garlic
2 TB Pistachios
Pinch of Kosher Salt
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Zest of whole Lemon

Normally I would break out my mega mezzaluna for something like this, cause I prefer the texture created by hand chopping, but I was in a hurry.  Luckily, Gremolata doesn't emulsify as easily as pesto does, since it contains no Olive oil.  Thus, you can cheat with a food processor and still retain some form of texture.

In the work bowl, add Garlic, Parsley and Pistachios and give it several pulses to break everything down.

Add a pinch of Salt, and pulse again.

Add Lemon Juice, and pulse.

Add Lemon Zest and pulse briefly.

Serve over Cauliflower Steak or Shrimp.


Fear not, my friends, though spring be late,
And Old Man Winter doth fulminate,
Your appetite may yet be sate,
With Springtide greetings on a plate.


1 comment:

Patricia Taylor said...

What a deserving vehicle for your gremolata. I have never made a gremolata. You nailed the odd taste of the curly parsley for me. I think I will plant some parsley in the garden this year. Thanks for the inspiration.