Even as the weather begins to turn toward spring, we've still got plenty of winter staples (including a bounty of citrus) showing up at the market. Gremolata, a less-liquid cousin of salsa verde, is a favorite condiment for meat, fish, or in this case, a light end-of-winter vegetarian stew. Clear out the back of the fridge of those hard-to-get-through carrots, cauliflower and potatoes and brighten a bowlful with Fanny's zesty gremolata.
And don't forget to pick up a mortar & pestle — it'll be your trusty companion as you make this super-green sauce (and many things besides).
End-of-Winter Veggie Stew
1 large onion
1 small-medium head of cauliflower
4 small pink potatoes
1 bunch of small-medium carrots
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1tsp Black Lime powder
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp. Black Urfa Chili
1/2 tsp. Marash Chili
Sea Salt & Ground Black Pepper to taste
Coarsely chop your onion and add it to a heavy bottomed pot along with a big glug of olive oil and all of the spices. Turn the heat to medium-high and fry the onion until fragrant and beginning to caramelize. Turn the heat down and stir frequently until the onion has softened. Meanwhile scrub the carrots thoroughly but don't peel them unless they seem especially rough. Chop the carrots in rounds about 1/2-inch thick. Wash your potatoes and cut them into chunks leaving the skin on. Coarsely chop the cauliflower. Add all the veg to the pot containing the onions and sautée for several minutes, adding another glug of olive oil if it needs it to avoid anything sticking. After about ten minutes, add enough water to the pot to cover and loosen the vegetables (it should be at least several cups). Allow to simmer until everything has begun to soften and break apart (about 1-2 hours). Season with salt to taste. This stew is excellent, perhaps even better, as a puréed soup — just use an immersion blender or upright blender to process.
1 bunch of parsley
3 small firm cloves of garlic
1 small shallot
8 kumquats (if you can't find kumquats, an orange will do. Use a sharp knife to cut the skin away from the pith and then dice the peel coarsely)
1/2 green Jalapeño, halved and deseeded, and coarsely chopped
Extra Virgin olive oil
Use a mortar & pestle to pulverize the garlic cloves with a big pinch of coarse sea salt. When you have a translucent paste, juice half the lemon overtop. Fish out any seeds. Wash and dry the parsley and pluck the leaves from the stems. Add half the parsley leaves and the jalapeño to the mortar. Use the pestle to pound the chili and the parsley to a uniform bright green paste. Chop the remaining parsley medium-finely and add it to the mortar. Finely mince the shallot and add it to the mortar too, squeezing the second half of the lemon overtop. Mix throughly. Rinse your kumquats and de-stem them, and, using a very sharp knife or mandolin, slice them very thinly. Remove any kumquat seeds and add the citrus rounds to the mortar, adding a couple splashes of olive oil. Stir to combine. It should be loose but not too liquid (If using orange peel instead of kumquats, add it here). Taste and adjust acid, oil or salt to taste. It should be bright and tangy, but not puckering. It should taste good with a spoonful of stew, like it offsets the round, warmer flavors of the cooked vegetables.
Fill shallow bowls with the stew and spoon a more-than-generous amount of gremolata overtop. Serve hot with garlic toast, if desired.