H.B. Wilcox Photography
Chopping curly parsley for gremolata
Gremolata is an Italian condiment made from chopped parsley, crushed garlic and fine shavings of lemon zest. Perhaps some salt to taste. That's it.
The salsa's simplicity makes it an unfussy last-minute addition to a meal, but the modest preparation is hardly a reflection of the taste. Gremolata adds a wallop of flavor that enhances the profile of a dish without throwing it off balance; it's bright parsley, a bite of lemon rind and the mellow sweetness that comes from crushing garlic to a paste under the heel of your knife.
Gremolata is virtually limitless in its use. I like to sprinkle it over roasted chicken or fish hot from the grill. I toss a few spoonfuls with vegetables — raw, roasted or steamed — and a wash of olive oil. Last week I plucked a few squash blossoms from the zucchini plant overtaking my garden bed, packed the buds with ricotta and fried them in a shallow inch of oil; they were finished with a dusting of gremolata, balancing salt and fat with the brisk bite of herbs and acid.
Whether it's scattered over pizza, creamed with butter for toast or eaten with yogurt and salted almonds as a savory snack, I use the condiment liberally, and often.
Here's the recipe.
Makes 1 cup
- 1 handful parsley, flat or curly
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 lemon
- salt to taste
- De-stem and finely chop the parsley. Scoop it into a small bowl.
- Peel the garlic and crush it into a fine paste on your cutting board using the heel of your knife and a pinch of salt for traction — or use mortar and pestle. Add the crushed garlic to the bowl.
- Zest the lemon over the bowl with the parsley and garlic. For a chunkier gremolata (or in absence of a zester or microplane) strip the lemon rind from the white pith using a vegetable peeler. Finely chop before adding it to the rest of the mixture.
- Use your fingers to gently rub the aromatic lemon and garlic into the chopped parsley. Season with salt to taste.