We were happy to learn that the September Daring Cooks challenge was to make potato gnocchi. We’ve already documented some of our adventures with gnocchi, including potato and butternut squash, and so since we were familiar with the product we wanted to make something a bit different. After putting our heads together and surveying the current contents of our refrigerator, we came up with BLT gnocchi.
What’s not to like? In its ideal incarnation, the sandwich form of BLT combines that crispy smoky bacon flavor with the fresh crunch of lettuce and the sweetness of fresh tomato, so we wanted to bring the same sort of idea to gnocchi. We used some bacon that we cured ourselves (in The Monkey’s latest gadget, the Bradley Smoker), a butter lettuce and some cherry tomatoes fresh from the farmers’ market. Our recipe is as follows:
1/4 lb smoky bacon, cut into cubes and fried until crispy, then chopped finely
1 head butter lettuce, leaves picked and washed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
A few sprigs of parsley
1 oz butter
8 fluid oz chicken stock
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
Salt and white pepper to taste
Gently saute the onion in butter for about 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Chop the lettuce roughly and add to the onion along with the parsley, then when it starts to wilt add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil then puree (using a hand blender is easiest). Simmer until reduced by half, then stir in 2 tablespoons crème fraiche and season to taste. The puree should be fairly thick.
6 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced shallot
Salt and white pepper
Mix the vinaigrette ingredients together – the shallot and pepper should help emulsify it nicely. Add the tomatoes, mix well and leave to marinate while you prepare the gnocchi.
From top to bottom: baked potatoes drying out in the oven; gnocchi after rolling and cutting; gnocchi in the frying pan
We followed our recipe from here, which originally came from Chef Staffan Terje’s gnocchi cooking class. The only change was to add the finely chopped bacon to the dough and mix with the other ingredients before rolling out.
As with most of our previous gnocchi, we pan fried them. Not that we have anything against the more traditional boiled gnocchi, but there’s something about that crispy browned exterior paired with the fluffy interior that we really like. We also think it’s a bit more forgiving than boiling; just pan fry over medium heat in a little oil, turning occasionally until browned on all sides. We usually do this in several batches and keep them warm in the oven until we’re ready to eat.
Todd, who is The Daring Kitchen’s AWESOME webmaster and an amazing cook, is our September Daring Cooks’ host! Todd challenged us to make light and fluffy potato Gnocchi and encouraged us to flavor the lil pillows of goodness and go wild with a sauce to top them with!