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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

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Gremolata is most often the garnish that finishes osso buco, the Milanese stew of shin of veal usually served with a rich risotto. In this context, its lastminute addition of gremolata - a mixture of lemon zest, parsley and garlic - makes a lot of sense, for a richer combination than osso buco is difficult to imagine. Many Italians do not approve of a gremolata garnish here, finding it too obvious a counterpoint for such an unctuous and subtle dish. Perhaps they are right and in our redefined Mediterranean sensibility its application is broader-based, bringing bean and salad dishes alive with vigorous and assertive flavours in a way that should please both those who find it too strident in its traditional use as well as those who have never thought of using it at all.

The precise proportions of lemon to garlic to parsley are not absolute, but the garlic should never dominate. Experiment with increasingly higher percentages of lemon and parsley until you hit upon the formula that pleases you most.


  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 scrubbed or uncoated lemon
  • bunch of flat-leaf parsley



Peel, smash and chop the garlic and put into a bowl. Zest the lemon and add this to the garlic. Destalk the parsley and chop the leaves. Add these to the bowl and stir and toss to ensure an even distribution of all the elements.

Always make it fresh as close as possible to the moment you want to add it to the finished dish.

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