If you, like I, have ever stood in front of your fridge, pantry, freezer, larder, hoping for inspiration that simply does. not. come....
I've got a solution (or two) for you. Herbs. Herbs. More herbs. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme--well Simon and Garfunkel were on to something there.
Even in the 'tween seasons', even in the midst of scorching summers, even when everything else has turned brown and crisp--herbs, much like the women that grow them, survive the Texas climate. They shall overcome.
A recent conversation with an Italian chef was spent sharing the 'secrets of our success' when it comes to the kitchen. Mine included fresh, homegrown ingredients, and a heavy lean-to on fresh herbs and lemons. His did, too, in the name of the Italian condiment, gremolata.
If you haven't heard of, nor cooked with, a simple gremolata, you've been missing one of the easiest, tastiest tricks in the Italian cookbook. And those days are over, friend. Get out your favorite knife, (or chopper, or processor, or my favorite blade of choice for this business, the mezzaluna) and let's get chopping.
At its simplest, gremolata is chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Some earlier versions even preclude the garlic. But why?
Some add olive oil (we'll add our gremolata to olive oil for an upcoming dish), some use citrus other than lemon (orange? grapefruit? hmm, worth a try?), some add pepper, some add salt. All good.
a dash of panache: gremolata
- 2 tsp coarse kosher salt
- 2 small or one large garlic clove, peeled
- the zest* of 2 large or 3 medium lemons
- One healthy bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only
Mince garlic cloves together with salt, crushing cloves with a whack to the side of your knife pressed against them, then finely chopping, smashing with the side of the blade, then mincing with salt again, until very finely minced. (see link for more help with mincing garlic)
Add parsley leaves and lemon zest (see more information about zesting lemons at the links, below) to pile of salted garlic, and chop together, until leaves and zest are minced and all is well-incorporated.
Use gremolata, uncooked, to season roasted meats, vegetables, seafood, and more.
Come along this week as we use our gremolata to dress up favorite meals, and speed things along in the kitchen towards some rather impressive dishes, all with your own personal dash of panache.
BBC Food-Techniques: Zesting Citrus Fruits
The Kitchn-Cooking Basics: How to Zest a Lemon
TLC: What is Lemon Zest?