may 22, 2020

Preserved Lemon Gremolata

We are over the moon for gremolata. The magic is in its balance of flavors: herby freshness and citrus, with a gentle bit of garlicky bite - guaranteed to wake up your palate and elevate almost any dish from blah to brilliant. It is one of the greatest condiments of all time and it comes together in a few minutes, and with only three ingredients.
Classic gremolata, made from finely minced parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, is the traditional garnish for the Italian braised veal dish osso buco. Gremolata’s bright, assertive flavors perfectly offset the rich meat.
In this version, we use non-traditional preserved lemon. We love its briny boost. If you don’t have preserved lemons on hand, not to worry. Substitute a couple of tablespoons of capers for similar zing. Or go the traditional route and simply use fresh lemon zest.
Here are a few fun ideas for sprinkling that Italian gremolata sunshine into your dishes:
  • Top grilled or roasted meats, seafood, and vegetables
  • Add a couple of glugs of olive oil and use it as a marinade, or fold into pasta dishes of all kinds
  • Whisk into vinaigrettes
  • Use in a compound butter to top corn on the cob or a grilled steak
  • Mix into fresh breadcrumbs (now you have a double threat topping!)
And a few words of wisdom to make your gremolata the best it can be:
  • Do not, we beg you, get out your food processor for this! The aggressive motion and heat of the spinning blade will result in a sad, bitter, mushy green mess. Sharpen your knife, and embrace the zen of chopping, continuing until the ingredients are very finely minced.
  • Along with, or instead of, using preserved lemon, you can vary your gremolata in other ways. Our favorite version combines parsley and mint leaves. Orange zest instead of lemon is nice, especially in winter. Green garlic is lovely when you can get it.
  • Don’t overdo the garlic. One small clove or half of a medium clove is all you need
Keep in touch, and show us your creations with #TCKatHome, or email us with any questions or feedback. We’d love to hear from you!

Preserved Lemon Gremolata

Author the Civic Kitchen

Though it is not traditional, we love the extra power punch of preserved lemon in this gremolata. If you don't have preserved lemons, substitute 2 to 3 tablespoons rinsed and dried capers for similar impact, or simply use the zest of one lemon without further embellishment.

Yield   About ½ cup


Leaves of 1 large bunch parsley (about 1 tightly-packed cup)

1 small preserved lemon

1 small clove garlic, minced with a knife


Note that gremolata is best when made just before serving.
Wash and thoroughly dry the parsley leaves. They should be completely free of moisture.
Trim away and discard the pulp of the preserved lemon. Rinse the rind and pat it dry. Roughly chop.
Pile the preserved lemon peel and garlic on top of the parsley, and chop* them all together until very finely minced.


*Please, mince by hand! Gremolata should not be chopped in a food processor. Doing so would yield a watery, bitter result.