Green Beans with Meyer Lemon Gremolata

Gremolata is a wonderfully fragrant Italian condiment made from finely minced parsley, garlic and lemon zest. Traditionally served with braised meats, it is also outstanding on fish, seafood, soups and vegetables. With less than ten calories in a serving, this topping is a perfect way to transform plain meats & vegetables into something spectacular without adding fat.

Recipes for gremolata always start with lemon zest. Parsley is the most common herb used, but any fresh herb that will compliment your meal may be used. Since there are only a few ingredients in this vibrant topping, you’ll want to use the freshest herbs for the most flavor and aroma. However it’s used, a little gremolata goes a long way, so only small amount is needed for a big punch of flavor.

Meyer lemons are in season right now and that’s what I prefer to use when they are available. Meyer lemons, a cross between the regular lemon and a tangerine, are more fragrant and less harsh than the common supermarket lemons. They are worth seeking out for this or any recipe calling for lemon juice or zest. If Meyer lemons aren’t available to you, any fresh, unwaxed lemon will do, or experiment with other citrus zest (lime is particularly nice with seafood).

Tossing a few teaspoons of the savory blend into hot, cooked green beans as I’ve done here elevates an ordinary vegetable into something special. Try it tossed with hot, boiled baby potatoes, asparagus or stirred into a bowl of hot vegetable soup for something very tasty.

Classic Gremolata
1 small bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley (appox 1 cup of leaves)
1 small clove garlic, mashed
1 lemon (regular or Meyer)
¼ teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste

Wash and thoroughly dry the parsley. Remove the leaves and finely chop.

Finely mince the garlic and mash with the back of a spoon with a pinch or two of salt (I prefer coarse sea salt).

Using a lemon zester or the fine holes on a box grater, remove the zest only from the lemon. Meyer lemons have very little of the bitter white pith, if using common lemons be careful to avoid the white part as much as possible taking only the bright yellow part of the peel.

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl using the back of a fork or teaspoon to lightly crush and release the oils in the zest. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To use, toss into hot, cooked fresh green beans or soup right before serving…or on top of seafood or chicken.

Makes about 2 tablespoons

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