Asparagus Gremolata


No, you didn’t read it wrong. This isn’t asparagus with gremolata, this is actually gremolata made with asparagus!

I’m the first to snicker when cooking terms are wrongly or “loosely” used – especially on menus! Sometimes it just makes it hard to figure out what the dish is. Names like “confit” and “coulis” and now, “gremolata.”

Gremolata is a fabulous condiment of sorts, Italian in origin, made up of lemon, parsley, and garlic. It’s often served with Osso Bucco, but it’s also good with roasted meats.


My husband and I once dined at a restaurant that served us bread with gremolata as soon as we sat down. Within a short time, the restaurant had run out of gremolata, probably because of us devouring it!

In any case, my friends had me over for my birthday in April, and I sat down to a lovely meal of steaks, grilled by him, and pasta with asparagus gremolata, made by her.

She told me it was called asparagus gremolata, and it was in a recent Bon Appetit. I was a little confused because I was familiar with traditional gremolata. In any case, it so so ingredible, I got the recipe from her and I’m making it. Here’s the recipe, photographed from the magazine.


Besides serving the asparagus gremolata with meats and fish, Bon Appetit suggested adding pasta and arugula, which is how it was served to me. I used half spinach and half arugula!


There was a little prep work involved, but it didn’t take much time. One thing I did was to remove the ends of the asparagus spears, so that only the thinly sliced asparagus stems were part of the gremolata.

The sliced asparagus was rinsed multiple times in icy water to keep it crisp. I was so tempted to parboil the asparagus, but it was so good as my friend made it that I didn’t want to change a thing!

A ribbon pasta would be beautiful tossed with the gremolata, but I chose pipe rigate.

Once the gremolata, the pasta and the arugula/spinach combo was tossed together, I added much needed salt and a generous amount of olive oil.

You can treat this dish as a side dish, or also like a pasta salad.


It would be good with some shaved Parmesan as well.


Although the arugula adds some spiciness, I could see sprinkling a little cayenne pepper flakes on the top of the pasta.

But I just offered salt and pink peppercorns. Enjoy!

note: What was especially nice about the whole dinner, is that many friends won’t cook for me! That made the whole celebration even that more wonderful. People, if you have friends who are cooks, whether it’s their main passion in life, a hobby, or their livelihood, please cook for them! They will love it!

61 thoughts on “Asparagus Gremolata

  1. I love Gremolata and use it often not just on Osso Bucco. I especially love the use of parsley in the original one and like to add orange zest as well.
    I think they really stretch the term here – but still love the recipe itself. It looks so fresh and tasty. :)

  2. That sounds like a wonderful spring dish to me. Like most of us, I can´t get enough of asparagus either while it´s in season, used it a lot with pasta, too. The gremolata is just the perfect finishing touch that makes it all irresistible. Love it!

    • Yeah, except it really is a condiment, not really an asparagus dish. I mean, you couldn’t just eat it without something else, like this pasta, or with fish or a filet. But so unique and really fun!

  3. The term is stretched, but it looks and sounds nice. Perhaps except the cilantro ;-) Cilantro isn’t even available in Italy.
    I get cooked for very rarely, too. Very nice when it does happen!

    • If you ever decide to make this, just use parsley. I happen to love cilantro, and I know you can take it in small amounts, but honestly the other flavors are so much more vivid that both times I ate this I forgot that cilantro was even in the “gremolata!” And yes, it’s really nice to get cooked for, no matter the meal!

    • Honestly, I don’t know why any vinegar is in this. What I mean is, I don’t think vinegar is in the gremolata for flavor. A little lemon juice could be added, just for a little zing. I think they used rice wine vinegar just because it’s so mild, but then, why use vinegar at all?!!!

      • I would use it if I used it really like a gremolata, like on fish, or roasted chicken, but not bother with the vinegar tossed with the pasta like I did. It was good, but definitely not necessary.

  4. Lovely, so fresh. I made a raw asparagus salad for the first time this week and the flavour is quite different to when it’s cooked or even blanched.

  5. I tend to call all these chopped toppings salsa, but that has so many more assumptions about it than even gremolata. Either way it looks delicious. GREG

  6. Love asparagus and I think this would be a great summer salad. I don’t panic about the terms used but then nobody much cooks for me either! Will definitely try this one, thanks :)

  7. What a wonderful idea! And a great use for the last of my asparagus in the fridge. Sometimes I get so complacent and go back to the same tried and true with vegetables.

    • Nothing wrong with that! I love steamed asparagus with a little olive oil and salt… This is really more like a condiment, in any case. It’s very interesting!

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