I know, I know, I should have posted this before Easter, but lamb with gremolata is lovely all spring (year) long, so make it this week instead! I let gremolata—a relish of minced lemon zest, garlic, and parsley—slip out of my rotation, but it’s back with a vengeance thanks to helping out at a Cooking the Market class at Kitchen in the Market last week.
Have you ever taken a Cooking the Market class? Led by co-owner chef Molly Herrmann, the classes are pure improvisation, cooking with imagination and instinct, the perfect cooking class in my mind because it captures exactly the joy (and reality!) of cooking at home. Molly leads the class through a tour of Midtown Global Market, pointing out potential ingredients from The Salty Tart, Holy Land Market, Grassroots Gourmet, Produce Exchange, and El Burrito Mercado. The goal is to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with new ingredients while a chef provides guidance and assistance. Add music and wine and you’ve got a winning evening out with friends, coworkers, or family.
Last week’s gremolata topped a dish our group named Mediterranean Tacos: socca (chickpea flour pancakes) topped with harissa, crispy Brussels sprouts, fried haloumi cheese, and preserved lemon gremolata. So lovely! And a pretty terrific Meatless Monday dinner if you need ideas…
You may have had gremolata atop osso bucco, where its bright, fresh zing is a traditional contrast to silky braised meat. But you don’t have to think hard to imagine that it is just fabulous tossed with warm (or cold) new potatoes with olive oil, or spooned over a pan of sauteed peas, or swirled into soup, or sprinkled over seared fish…and on and on. Add mint if you like—terrific with lamb, of course—or shallots instead of garlic. Some recipes call for adding anchovies, which would probably make the best egg salad sandwich ever (still have Easter eggs to use up?). For me, when spring is frustratingly near but not yet quite here, punches of color and zest are not just welcome, but essential.
Grilled Lamb Chops with Gremolata
8 lamb rib chops, in 4 2-rib sections (some stores sell them this way; or buy a rack of lamb and cut into 2-chop portions)
gremolata (recipe below)
extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Sprinkle lamb chop pieces all over with kosher salt. Adjust grill so heat is high but chops can be grilled over indirect heat. With a gas grill, leave a couple of the burners on high and turn one off. With charcoal, push embers off to one side.
Grill chops away from the heat source, about 4 1/2 minutes per side, for medium (pink not red). Transfer chops to a cutting board and let rest while your prepare the gremolata, 10 minutes.
Carve lamb chops in half. Top with gremolata, a drizzle of olive oil, and a few grinds of black pepper and serve immediately.
Zest of 2 lemons, yellow part only, peeled off with vegetable peeler
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh parsley
4 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
pinch of kosher salt
Finely chop the lemon zest. Pile on the parsley, chopped garlic, and kosher salt and keep chopping, all of them together, until gremolata is finely minced and uniform. Cover and chill leftovers for up to a week.