Gremolata topping wine-braised beef short rib, photo by Donna

I’ve had braised beef short ribs on my mind for the past couple weeks, working on a preparation for the current book, another for an OpenSky promotion, and also because we’ve got ten people coming for dinner on Saturday, and short ribs are the wintertime choice for entertaining! It’s bleak and cold and wintery here, perfect weather for these rich short ribs.  They’re also relatively inexpensive—important during the frugal post-holiday months.  And they can be prepared up to a week in advance, so I don’t have to be rushing around at the last minute.

What I want to talk about here, though, is the gremolata, which sometimes gets lost in the shuffle at the end, but is absolutely essential to the finished dish. Most are familiar with this potent troika, minced garlic, lemon zest and parsley—but feature it, don’t make it an after thought. It works with almost any braised preparation, adding fresh bright notes of lemon and herb to the rich caramelized flavors of the braised meat, and the pungent umami impact of the garlic.  Rarely is a finishing garnish so critical to the ultimate pleasure of a dish.

I like to braise mine in a delicious wine, worth the expense especially if I’m out of veal stock.  (I’d give the recipe here but I promised it to my friends at Open Sky, who have put together a very cool 4-color PDF for those shopping at Open Sky— link here —for which I was honored to be able to choose the above entree and join my fellow Open Sky bloggers, Jay and Irwin of  design2share, Denise of Dedemed, Alison and Shannon of cookingwithfriendsclub, Cory of zestycook, Lori of FindingRadiance, Greg of Sippitysup, and last but not least Le Bernardin executive pastry chef, Michael Laiskonsis—who just did pretzels, his with baking soda; I think mine are purtier!)  But you don’t have to braise short ribs, you can braise a lamb shank, or osso bucco (gremolata is a traditional garnish for this), or even chunks of beef for stew.

Serve the braise piping hot (braises have to be hot or they have no character, not unlike Mrs. Bourdain), topped with a judicious amount of gremolata.  My ratio is by volume: 3 parts parsley, 2 parts lemon zest, 1 part garlic.

Gremolata for 4 Portions

1 tablespoon minced parsley

2 teaspoons minced lemon zest

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Combine.  Then don’t forget to use!

The above pasta was the 3:2 flour to egg pasta from Ratio, which are awesome with braised ribs, as would be, oh, I don’t know, a creamy potato gratin. Winter food is so much fun.

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39 Wonderful responses to “Gremolata
(with Wine-Braised Beef Short Rib)”

  • Rhonda

    Michael, this looks fantastic. And look at those mushrooms!!!

    “Umami”?

    Ruhlman, you were banned for life from the Food Network which gives you street cred and was a proud moment for us all.

    Don’t fuck it up.

  • Walt

    Michael,

    I’m also braising short ribs for a dinner party this weekend. Perhaps served over hazelnut mashed potatoes. I make braised dishes often through the cold winter months but have always left out the gremolata. Based on your enthusiasm, I promise to correct this apparently sinful recipe redaction over the weekend. Thanks for once again providing such timely inspiration!

  • Paul

    “3:2 flour to egg pasta from Ratio”

    I’ve always worked with 1 egg per 100g flour. Saves having to weigh the eggs. For a nicer dough I swap out a few whole eggs for 2 yolks. so it might be 2 eggs, 4 yolks and 400g flour. I always add some salt to fresh pasta as well as it usually doesn’t stay in the salted boiling water long enough to pick up much saltiness from it.

    Also the pasta water makes for a great thickening agent for sauce.

    A couple of ripe tomatoes, some onion, garlic and green pepper a splash of white wine in a saute pan, throw the cooked al dente pasta into the pan with them and a splash of the pasta water and you’ll have an amazing pasta dish.

  • Connie

    Gremolata rules and so do shortribs. I refuse to eat osso bucco without it (or the bone marrow!).

  • Linda

    I made absolutely amazing wine braised beef shanks with rosemary in the crock pot a few weeks ago and grated a healthy portion of really dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder into the sauce before serving. I’ll never make them any other way again. Perfect.

  • Nan

    Been squirreling away veal shanks in the freezer for a month or two – hiding the price tags from my husband so he won’t notice them during his nightly scrounging around for ice cream. Guess it’s time to pull those expensive little suckers out of hibernation and break out the dining room for a party! Personally I think I love the gremolata more than the veal!
    Thanks for a great winter post from a fellow buckeye!

  • chappy

    A Mario Batali recipe uses fresh horseradish for his gremolata. I’m sure this version is delicious, but I’ve found the horseradish to be the perfect balance to rich shortribs. Is this recipe above a ‘true’ gremolata if there is such a thing?

  • elizabeth

    Unless we get another cold snap, our braising days are likely through until the fall, but I’ve always meant to try a gremolata–I would imagine it would have brought a little bit of spring into our dish this weekend. Do you have any suggestions for any fish it would go well with?

    (Also–per your tweet this AM, braised food is extremely hard to photograph! This is a gorgeous picture).

  • Zube

    I love all things braised. My next short rib dish will certainly have a gremolata on it now. Nice touch with the mushrooms. I recently made pork short ribs and they might be my new favorite short rib. So much wonderful flavor still left in the meat after hours of cooking.

  • Jennifer

    We recently had this ourselves (using beef ribs from our own veal calf) but made it with spatezle. Trully amazing flavors.

  • Victoria

    MR,

    I have two questions about short ribs:

    (1) My grocery store has short ribs cut three ways: one is what I am used to – I call it regular, one is for barbecue, and one is called flanken-style. In your picture it looks like you use the “regular” short ribs. Is that correct?

    (2) Do you use grass fed short ribs?

    (But let’s face it, after your last post, all I am going to be eating next weekend is bread and CULTURED butter.

    Thanks.

    • michael

      the one for the bbq looks like a rib steak. the flanken are good to braise too. i sometimes use grass fed.

  • Patricia Garvey

    I’m not a huge fan of beef short ribs — bad childhood memories of my grandmother boiling them for a very long time, then eating them over the sink as a late-night snack. Ugh! So, this may sound strange, but I’ve been making an osso bucco-style halibut for years served over whipped potatoes and fresh herbs, some of the braising sauce, and topped with gremolata. It’s really a terrific blend of textures and flavors, but the gremolata absolutely makes the dish. My recipe is a bit heavier on the lemon, but I’m a huge fan of ratios. I’ll try your version next.

  • Karen Downie Makley

    The right balance of citrus and animal fat tastes brilliant. I’ve never done gremolata on ribs or short ribs…but I was planning on trying an old Acadian recipe for pork ribs on Fri night (Lent, what?!) and a gremolata must might make the dish. Thank you for the inspiration

  • Matt

    Do you have a recommendation for the kind/brand/style of wine you use in the braise? I’ve made the braised short ribs from Ad Hoc at Home with a Beaujolais and it was exceptional, but I wonder how much the wine contributes to the end result after such a long cooking time…

    • Mantonat

      I saw an episode of Good Eats the other day where Alton Brown disputed the idea “if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.” He said don’t spend more than a few dollars on a bottle of wine for cooking since you are only using the wine for acidity, a little fruitiness, and the alcohol. I tend to agree with him when it comes to slow cooking since the flavors of the meat will eventually overwhelm any subtleties in the wine. At the same time, I would think you would still want a wine that is at least palatable; a wine with off flavors may leave its fingerprints on a final dish, especially if it is a light or quickly cooked dish.
      I find that using a tart Belgian beer like a lambic or oud bruin works even better than wine when braising beef.

  • Mary-Alice

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE short ribs. I make them using Cook’s Illustrated version but leave the bones on! There is something zen about boiling down a bottle of good wine to 1 cup. Also, I use homemade broth enriched with demi glace from Williams Sonoma. I live 80 miles from the nearest big city and have to “make do”.

  • JP

    When making these braised short ribs for a larger party, how would you suggest storing them. In the post above you said up to a week?

    Thanks,

    JP

    • Jim

      JP,
      When I’ve done braises ahead for parties I cool the braise and put the whole pot in the fridge as is (if I have room) or in a large container with all of the juice and fat and everything. Then I simply put it in the oven and heat it back up until it is good and hot.

      BTW my favorite accompaniment for braised short ribs is a Black pepper and Parmesan Polenta. Yum!

  • tkw

    i had plans to serve leftover pot roast last night before reading your post…put some gremolata together last minute and it worked out great. it also went well with the other leftovers i served: green curry pork.

  • Camille

    We made a braised lamb dish a couple of Easters ago, and topped it with a mint gremolata, which really made the flavor sparkle. Thanks for the reminder!

  • SB

    Michael,

    Recipe for short ribs only available to purchasers of stuff from the website??!! After buying your suggested $235 Le Creuset (which incidentally can be had for $185 at W.Sonoma) I won’t have any money left for meat — even the economical ribs.

    When did you start charging for sharing recipes on your blog???

    • ruhlman

      You’re right. That can’t be the right price. You should return and buy from Amazon.

      Open Sky asked me to include a recipe in a promotion for a 20 page PDF they were creating for people who bought Open Sky merchandise. I’m not charging money for recipes on my blog.

      I’ll look into that pricing.

  • Michael Franco

    It’s like you were reading my mind – they are on my shopping list.

    I adore braised beef short ribs. I always make enough for two dinners, the first served with polenta and rapini, the second with pasta and fresh peas.

    And the gremolata is a must!

  • SallyBR

    I always add gremolata to my ossobuco, but never thought of topping beef short ribs with them, silly me! I thought that they would be too strong tasting to be paired with gremolata. I usually like to add fried, crispy leeks on top, following a recipe from Fine Cooking magazine.

    but, note to self for my next short rib adventure: don’t forget to “gremolate” it!

  • Andy

    Michael, did you mean Anthony’s wife or Tony. You wrote Mrs. Bourdain. Now you messing with his wife. She has no character unless she’s hot? TMI Michael.

  • Romona Weston

    Thursday night is family night at our home…all the kids have to be here for dinner and no activities planned outside of the home. (kids are still young…they all live at home.) Usually I like to try different recipes. Tonight it was lamb, onion and parslied mashed potatoes and yes, I tried your Gremolata recipe. The family loved it with the lamb.

    Donna, your photography always makes me so hungry!

  • allen

    Looks mighty fine, an uppity zin would make a nice compliment to the dish.
    Umami? And all this time I’ve been pronouncing it oooh mommy!

  • Natalie Sztern

    it’s funny because growing up short ribs were known and are known as flanken in Jewish household. Back then they were dirt cheap to buy, not like now, but it has always stuck in my mind that my mother would never serve this to guests as it connotated ‘cheapness’ and that has always stuck in my mind.

    That you would serve these at a dinner party makes me step back and realize that this is no longer a cheap cut of meat, that wine braised with gremolata is a gourmet meal and it is okay for me to serve ‘flanken’.

    How times have changed: the foods I grew up on like brains, tongue, sweatbreads and short ribs once considered the working man’s dinner is now an elite way to eat.

    This post really does make me feel old. But it is also on my list for Passover as of this post.

  • cindy

    Hi Michael, I have 2 questions, if you can answer them. I made the braised ribs from the AHatH and it was delicious. But I can only imagine that the picture in the book of the braised ribs being used in the stroganoff recipe couldnt have been cooked 1 1/2 hrs from the braised rib recipe. Food Art for the book? They appear to be merely seared.
    Also the garlic confit in Bouchon says it can be refrigerated 1 month, but in the AHatH it says it only lasts 1 week. Which one is more accurate? I made it and it smells so good that maybe it wont stay around long enough to worry, but it would be nice to know.
    I LOVE the books. Everything I have made so far has been successful and more importantly..fun.
    Thank you in advance

  • Joe

    Oh gosh, you make my mouth water. That you is plural, you Michael for the description of the food and the recipe and you Donna for the wonderful photo. Thank you both. Your blog is a joy.

  • Chase Blackwell

    The short rib looks delicious, but I can’t imagine the point of serving it without the reduced braising liquid, gremolata included or not.

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