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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Gremolata Chicken Recipe

Gremolata sounds like a character out a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Perhaps Gremolata could be a princess? Or a witch? Or even an enchanted kingdom? But no, gremolata is a garnish made of lemon peel, garlic and parsley. Some versions include anchovy or rosemary as well.

Gremolata is traditionally served as a garnish with Osso Buco. In Italian osso means bone and buco means hole. Osso Buco is a dish made with a veal shank bone which has a large marrow filled "hole". What gremolata means I have no idea.

What I do know is that the pungent raw flavors of gremolata "brighten" up a long-simmered dish such as Osso Buco. Versions of it are used with different kinds of soups and stews as well. Gremolata is always used as a garnish after a dish is done, but I recently started musing about all sorts of other things you could do with gremolata in recipes. By adding another ingredient or two it becomes a great addition to meatballs, or a topping for pasta or fish, even a marinade for seafood or chicken. Are you seeing a gremolata cookbook? Ok, maybe it's just me!

Who doesn't love a lemony roast chicken? There are version of lemon roast chicken that use a whole or a cut up bird, but I like butterflying a chicken before roasting it because flattening allows it to cook much more evenly not to mention quickly. It's a definite comfort food. By adding the juice of the lemon, a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper to gremolata you can make a terrific lemon chicken. Of course, if you like you could call it Princess Gremolata Chicken.

Note: this recipe goes great with roast potatoes, by peeling the potatoes and chopping them into thumb-sized pieces and putting them in a pan with a little olive oil you can roast them while cooking the chicken.

Gremolata Chicken
serves 4


1 lemon, rind (no pith!) and juice
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup parsley
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground epper to taste
1 chicken (2 1/2-4 1/2 lbs)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In the food processor pulse the lemon rind, garlic, parsley and salt. Add the lemon juice, olive and pepper. This will be used as a marinade so if some of the lemon remains in strips that's fine. Place chicken in a large plastic bag, add the marinate and seal. Marinate in the fridge for at least one hour, ideally 24 hours if you've got the time, but I never seem to...

Slice the chicken along the backbone. Flatten the bird with the palm of your hand. Pat dry and place skin side up on a rack set in foil-lined pan. Bake at 450 degrees for around 30 minutes or until juices run clear or temperature reads 180 degrees. Time is dependent upon the size of the chicken. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into quarters or halves.