Gremolata

There are days, after reading Go, Dog, Go!  for the 16th time, that you just need a lot of wine, a little break, and something slightly fancy for dinner.  If you can rope Grandma into babysitting while you cook, this will give you two of the three.  And, as Meat Loaf says, "Two out of three ain't bad." 

Gremolata is an Italian condiment traditionally used as a garnish for Osso Buco.  This simple blend of parsley, garlic and lemon zest will brighten up almost any dish. Add some olive oil and use it like salsa verde. It goes great with roasted chicken and can turn plain pasta into a very respectable side dish. I've added it to scrambled eggs and roasted vegetables as well.

"What's that blurry thing on the right that looks like a rock?"  I know you're wondering. It is a rock. It's one of my most used and loved kitchen tools. After reading The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper, I set about finding a flat rock to use to crush garlic. It works fabulously. You just smash that sucker flat. The peel comes right off, and it's a breeze to chop. Now, of course, you can't just go out and buy a garlic rock. I suppose you could go grab one out of your backyard and call it a day. However, I suggest you wait until a stifling hot summer day, find yourself a handsome Italian man, go on a sunset cruise on a pontoon boat, dock on a deserted island on a beautiful lake, and take a romantic walk. If you find yourself in that scenario and you're thinking about looking for a garlic rock -- you have issues. Ah, well, at least you'll have a lovely memory every time you smash the guts out of a garlic clove.

On to the recipe, which I first read in Time for Dinner: Just take a small handful of parsley, the zest of one or two lemons and a couple of garlic cloves. Chop them all together and sprinkle liberally over whatever needs a little brightening.  I won't promise your picky child will like this -- or the Cracker Barrel lovin' adults in your life, for that matter, but if you're looking for something a little different to perk up dinner, give it a try.