What Is Gremolata?

Posted on 12 Mar 2014 15:31

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You can't have a fancy food blog without a recipe that has something topped with gremolata. What could sound more gourmet than that? Even the word makes your mouth water, and you don't even know what it is (I'm assuming, or you wouldn't be reading this). Today we have a braised veal shank with gremolata.

Or, let's go even more foodie and call it Osso Buco with Gremolata. More legit would be "Osso Bucco alia Milanese," but then I don't get to say gremolata, and I think it sounds more delicious with the word gremolata in the name. I didn't just choose that at random, mind you. Gremolata is an Italian condiment that is traditionally used to top Osso Buco, which is braised veal shank. But, it can also be used as a zesty topping for other meat or seafood dishes; or even to put a finishing accent on a soup or stew. Basically, you can use it to sprinkle on any dish to which you want to give a tangy, fresh, citrusy lift.

Basic gremolata is nothing more than a mixture of Italian parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. To this base, many cooks add ingredients to put their own spin on it, including arugula, red wine vinegar, olive oil, nuts, and other seasonings.

gremolata topping close-up

image by Foodielady

gremolata topping close-up

image by Foodielady

The reason that gremolata is often used on braises is because the long cooking process of braising means that there will not be any "fresh" herbal or zesty flavors. The deep, rich flavor of a braise, or even a smoked meat, is offset perfectly by the the citrusy lemon zest, bright parsley, and pungent garlic. You'll find it is a good standby for just about anything that needs some freshening up. It's even perfect on top of a grilled steak.

Basic Gremolata


  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley (flat leaf parsley)
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves


Mince all ingredients on a cutting board to a uniform consistency and use to top meat, fish, soups, or stews. Adjust proportions of ingredients to suit your own taste.

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