Some recipes are are so brilliantly simple you want to slap yourself for not thinking of it first.
This is one of those recipes.
I’m fortunate to work with a few talented chefs from whom I gain inspiration every day. I’ve made classic gremolata for osso bucco dozens of times, and even used orange zest in lieu of lemon, for the gremolata garnish on a cannellini bean and beef soup. But it never occurred to me to add olive oil and turn it into a dressing for asparagus (d’oh!) until I tried it one day at work and I knew I had to make my own version. The punch of flavor from the gremolata takes ordinary asparagus from “nice” to “I want to put this on my head, it’s so good” as my friend Jessica likes to say.
Traditional gremolata is lemon zest, minced garlic and minced parsley. The addition of extra virgin olive oil turns it into a dressing which spreads that bright tasty goodness around.
This dish can be made in a flash with ingredients you have on hand and will go nicely with a piece of grilled fish or a steak. If you don’t want to cook inside during the summer, the dressing would be excellent over grilled asparagus.
An easy side of roasted asparagus dressed with flavorful gremolata (lemon zest, parsley and garlic).
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
For the dressing:
1tspgarlicminced (1-2 cloves)
2ozextra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the woody ends of the asparagus (usually the bottom 2-3 inches) and toss with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
spread the asparagus on a sheet pan and place in the hot oven. Cook until the asparagus is evenly roasted and starting to brown (a bit of char is ok). While the asparagus is cooking, make the dressing.
To make the gremolata dressing:
Wash the lemon, making sure the skin is clean. Use a fine grater to remove only the yellow part of the skin, not the bitter white pith. Set aside about a teaspoon of the zest and place the rest in a small mixing bowl.
Mince the garlic and the parsley and add to the mixing bowl. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the asparagus on a platter and spoon the gremolata dressing over the top. Sprinkle with the reserved lemon zest.
For the olive oil used in the gremolata, use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you have.