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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Garden Club Talk and Grapefruit Gremolata

A Garden Club Talk and Grapefruit Gremolata
by Victoria Challancin

A blender + a few handfuls of herbs + some toasted spices + a glug or two of olive oil or yogurt = a formula for some great simple sauces. When I was invited to give a talk on culinary herbs and a cooking class to the San Miguel Garden Club yesterday, I decided to make several quick herb-based sauces to showcase the readily availabe herbs parsley, cilantro, mint, and basil. With the help of my sister-in-law, Donna Challancin, as sous chef, chief chopper, and all round helpmate, we put together five incredibly tasty flavor enhancing sauces: Yemini Zhoug (cilantro), Moroccan Chermoula (parsley and cilantro), Indian Mint Chutney (mint and cilantro), a not-quite-Argentinian Three-Herb Chimichurri Sauce (basil, mint, and cilantro), and a refreshing Grapefruit Gremolata (parsley).

Although gremolata, a blend of raw garlic, chopped parsley, and grated lemon rind, is the traditional garnish for Italian braised veal-shank and tomato-based stew Osso Bucco, it has appeared in recent years in various citrus reincarnations. Sometimes I change the herb to mint or cilantro, sometimes I change the lemon to orange or grapefruit. This incredibly pungent condiment goes beautifully with grilled meats, chicken, shrimp, and roasted vegetables.

Grapefruit Gremolata
Italian Garnish
(Original recipe from Bon Appétit, February 2004: Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables with Grapefruit Gremolata)

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon grated grapefruit peel
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine parsley, grapefruit peel, and garlic in medium bowl. Season gremolata to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with roasted vegetables.

Variation: Yesterday I added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a squeeze of grapefruit juice for a non-traditional variation.

Many thanks to good friend Jennifer Hamilton for sharing her photos.

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