by Garry Nordenstam
Gremolata, sounds fancy! It looks fancy! It's easy to make and adds great flavor to any number of dishes. It's a traditional accompaniment to Osso Buco alla Milanese when made with lemon zest, garlic, parsley and anchovy. In this recipe we make a variation and use it as a garnish to add a flavor contrast to roasted asparagus.
1 lb asparagus
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
About 1/4 cup slivered almonds (you could substitute pine nuts/pignoli)
Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Roast the Aspargus...
Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and, if they're thick, peel them. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat the asparagus completely. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness), until starting to char.
Make the Gremolata...
Toast the nuts. Heat a sauté pan over medium-low to medium heat. Use a heavy-bottomed pan for best results. Although it is not necessary to grease the pan, some cooks prefer to add a tiny amount of butter, to increase flavor.
Pour nuts into pan in an even layer. Stir or shake the pan very frequently to prevent nuts from burning. Remove nuts from pan when they are done toasting, between 3 and 5 minutes. Remove from heat just as they begin to brown edges and have a fragrant smell, otherwise they may start to burn. Immediately pour toasted nuts into a dish to cool.
Coarsely chop 1/4 to 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley. Combine chopped parsley, lemon zest, toasted nuts and toss with a little olive oil.
Plate the Dish
Align asparagus tips and place on serving platter. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Top with gremolata at a right angle to asparagus.
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