By Tiffany Bader:
Gremolata is typically made with parsley, lemon and garlic, and added to osso buco and other braised meat dishes. I love to tweak the ingredients in my gremolata to brighten and balance dishes that are rich like stews.
Instead of parsley, I’ve used fresh dandelion greens in this recipe. Dandelions are native to Eurasia, but were brought to North America, Australia, New Zealand, South America and India (basically wherever Europeans migrated). It’s amazing to think that this prolific weed was originally planted in European gardens to be used as a salad green.
I think people underestimate and overlook dandelions, as they are super healthy and can be used in a variety of ways. If the greens are picked before the plant flowers, they are an amazing salad or cooked green. The flowers can be used to make infused vinegars, wine, beer, tea, balms, salves etc. The roots can be used for teas and medicines. Dandelions are full of vitamin C, beta carotene and other trace nutrients. The greens are collected in spring and used as a classic liver tonic, mild diuretic, blood toner and help to ease eczema and joint pain.
I’ve substituted the usual parsley for dandelions here to utilise this often overlooked weed. Hopefully the next time you see them growing beside your vegetables, you’ll throw them in your salad bowl instead of your compost.
- 1 cup loosely packed dandelion greens – washed and dried well. Will end up about 1/2 cup once finely chopped
- lemon zest from one lemon
- 1 clove garlic – skin removed
- squeeze of lemon juice
- salt to taste
Finely chop the dandelion greens and set aside in a bowl. Wash the lemon and zest and finely mince or zest the peeled garlic clove. It’s not traditional, but I like to add a squeeze of the lemon for a bit more acidity and fresh lemon flavour. Add a pinch of salt and give the ingredients a good mix.
When your braised/stewed dish is cooked and ready to eat, top with a couple spoonfuls of gremolata to finish. This won’t last long, so use up within a day.