a dash of panache: gremolata

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.

Our version:

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.

*Read more:
BBC Food-Techniques: Zesting Citrus Fruits
The Kitchn-Cooking Basics: How to Zest a Lemon
TLC: What is Lemon Zest?


  1. Nice. Can't wait to see what you do with it!

  2. Hi, Lauren. Thanks for dropping by! We've got it gremolata-going on all this week. Hope to see you tomorrow for Gremolata & Olive Oil-marinated Fresh Mozzarella.

    Have a great week!

  3. What a great idea for a series! You are tugging at my heartstrings with these ingredients. Lemon zest, fresh herbs and garlic are at the heart of all my best dishes. I can't wait to see how this unfolds and add some of your recipes to my repertoire.

    1. They are my babies, too! It's been so much fun to play around with, then eat them! I'm not surprised a girl as sophisticated as you (!) also loves them too...lol Thank you for dropping by, girlfriend!

  4. I love gremolata and incorporate it into soft bread crumbs as a final finish under the broiler with some freshly grated Parm on roasted green beans, asparagus, broccoli. It also makes a killer sauce if you throw it all in a blender with as much EVOO as you like and sometimes, a little extra garlic and salt. I used it on warm pasta, couscous, rice, in risotto, boiled potatoes and especially on salmon, halibut, barramundi and chicken breasts you plan to grill or broil. It just wakes everything up.

    1. I've tossed some pecans with the gremolata and bread crumb or panko, too, and topped fish and pasta dishes with it, but making it into a sauce a la pesto is a new idea. Upcoming dishes use variations, but I'll look forward to blending it and seeing what happens. Thanks for the ideas and thanks for dropping by.

  5. Maggie, I have raved about meeting you and the fellowship of "melding" you presented with your delicious food presentation last Saturday. You are an inspiration to me by sharing your path to happiness and how all the changes helped make you so delightfully happy and entertaining today. I personally wish you all the best and can't wait to show off my culinary talents with the gremolata, along with the roasted tomatoes and sage bruschetta recipe I hope you will also share on your blog. I love cooking and entertaining with friends and now I can introduce you when I share the recipe!


    1. Alyson,
      I am just speechless! (And you know that's no mean feat for me..lol). What a precious comment to receive today--you've made my WEEK. I will be sharing everything we made that day on my blog this month, and I am so flattered that you'll be following along. Please do subscribe on the right hand bar if you'd like to receive emailed updates. I'd be absolutely honored.
      You're just around the corner, so when I get that way, maybe we can have coffee and swap food and entertaining tips over coffee? I'd love that.

      All my best,

  6. Yummy. I love how you've built so many recipes off of gremolata. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey, there, and thanks for dropping by! I do love lemon, and found endless uses for the big batch I made of this to share at a women's retreat last weekend. I guess there was a little extra love in it, too. Wishing you a wonderful week, and thanks, again, for stopping in with your comment.


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