Gremolata

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This is the world’s easiest condiment. Though traditionally an accompaniment to the Milanese classic Osso Bucco, gremolata can brighten up many dishes. I keep a jar on hand in the fridge, and use it whenever my dinner seems a bit boring. Sprinkle it over seafood, pork, game, t-bones, grilled salads , or bruschetta. I even use it to liven up pizza and pasta. You’ll find this and more in my new book,  SALT: The Essential Guide to Cooking with the Most Important Ingredient in Your Kitchen.  (You can buy it here –  B&N – and here Amazon )

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

2 cups Italian parsley leaves

1 clove garlic

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Pinch black pepper

½ teaspoon unrefined salt- try any sel gris, Fiore di Sal, a smoked salt, or a salt infused with herbs, citrus, peppercorns, caper, anchovy, red wine vinegar, red wine, za’atar, or ash

Method

  1. Combine the parsley leaves, garlic, and zest on a cutting board and mince together into a dry paste. Add the salt and pepper at the end of mincing. Store airtight in the fridge for several days, or freeze for longer storage.

Variations

Regional Differences – There are some common versions of gremolata that include the addition of anchovies, grated Romano cheese, and toasted nuts. Ratios are left up to personal taste, but the general rule is that no one ingredient should overpower any of the others.

Persillade – This is the French version, which is contains no lemon zest—just parsley and garlic. It does, however, sometimes appear with olive oil or vinegar. I’d use a French salt here.

 

Osso Bucco

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osso bucco
This classic Italian dish is a great lesson in braising, and a perfect technique to use for cooking tougher cuts of meat. Osso bucco is made from veal shank, which is the upper portion of the hind and forelegs. These sections of muscle naturally get a lot of movement, which makes them tough. (Compare it to the “tender” loin which runs along the spine and gets hardly any movement.)

The slow, moist heat softens the connective tissues in tough muscles, and they melt away. Hot, dry cooking methods, like grilling, will only tighten the ligaments and tendons and toughen the entire muscle.

If you have a soft spot in your heart for the baby cow, you can make this recipe with beef shanks. I also like to use this technique with lamb shanks, although I usually use red wine instead of white.

INGREDIENTS

4-6 (8-12 oz.) veal shanks
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 TB. flour
2 cups white wine
2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
4 cups beef stock
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Gremolata
4 cloves garlic
3 anchovy filets
Zest of 1 lemon
[1/4] cup flat leaf parsley
[1/4] tsp. kosher salt

METHOD

  1. In a large sauté pan cook the shanks in olive oil over high heat until browned on all sides. Transfer to roasting pan.
  2. In the same sauté pan brown the onions, carrots celery and garlic. Add the flour and stir until all the fat is absorbed. Slowly whisk in the wine, tomatoes and stock. Pour over the shanks, and top with rosemary and bay. Cover and bake at 325˚F for about 2 hours, until meat falls off the bone. Remove rosemary and bay, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce sauce if necessary.
  3. Combine gremolata ingredients on a cutting board and mince them together until very fine. Serve 2-3 pieces of veal shank in a shallow bowl. Cover with sauce, sprinkle with gremolata and serve with crusty bread over creamy polenta, orzo pasta, risotto, or regular rice.

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