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Gnocchi with shellfish sauce, seaweed and a winner

>> Friday, November 19, 2010

Ñoquis patata 1

A Spanish blog was challenging us to prepare gnocchi this month. As I had already tried my hand at gnocchi in the past, in order to bring a little joy into my humdrum life, I decided to add a-not-so-common ingredient: seaweed. Because I have a confession to make: I like seaweeds. Not because I have tried them in sushi, I had tasted seaweeds before trying the ubiquitous sushi, (no, not before sushi was invented, I'm not that old). I must say sushi doesn't really thrill me, to put it mildly. However, some seaweeds can be really good when fried or boiled in a salad. So I added powdered nori to the gnocchi dough and ate them with an accompaniment of fried sea spaghetti. This is what I call an adventurous life... And my Italian readers, if any, will probably be shocked at my impudence.

Hmmm, and I'm also revealing the name of the winner of the CSN giveaway!

First to the winner of the CSN giveaway: Domestic Diva! I will soon give CSN your name and e-mail address for them to send you the code.

Giveaway 2

And... back to the recipe, for the gnocchi sauce we were free (whoops!) to make whatever we wanted, so I decided to do some refrigerator cleaning by using up some crab boiling juice that had been frozen since the Jurassic, and because this week seemed to be my improvisation week so far I devised a roux sauce of crab and saffron. The recipe for the gnocchi is the following:

  • 1kg potatoes
  • 300g pasta flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  1. Wash the potatoes, unskinned, and cook them in salty water until tender. Leave to cool a bit to peel them without too much suffering, skin and pass through a food mill. Cover the mashed potato with plastic and allow to cool.
  2. Add the beaten egg along with salt to the puree in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix well. Then add the flour and knead until you get a smooth dough that doesn't stick too much to your hands and can be manipulated. I do not know if it is very normal, but I had to add much more flour than the recipe called for, for dough to be manageable, so that at one point I gave up weighing the flour. I am afraid my potatoes were overcooked. I know, it's not very technical nor professional to ignore the total amount of flour I added... how I miss those times when the recipes instructed you to "add as much flour as it can take on" and everyone understood. If you think this is a cookbook, you are mistaken, it's a therapy-blog. If I did not write here I would be seeing a therapyst or something. Note that I spend most of the day alone, working on my stuff, without any nice colleagues to make caustic remarks nor a jerk boss to criticize... and I'm forced to swallow all my desire to criticize, gossip and talk-bad-about-my-neighbor... this healthy and relieving habit. And all that repression ends up accumulating in my stomach. As soon as I start to feel it, I write a post. Or something similarly blameworthy.
  3. I added a teaspoon of dried powdered nori to the dough, but it was hardly noticeable, maybe because of the loads of flour.
  4. Make little rolls of 1.5-2cm wide and cut them with scissors or a knife into pieces of about 2 cm. You can find an enlightening gnocchi-making video here. Each little dough pellet is crushed with a fork so that it gets the imprint of the well-bred gnocchi. Put them on a floured surface.
  5. If you intend to cook them immediately, get plenty of salt water to boil. When boiling, but not rolling boil, toss the gnocchi in and when they rise to the surface, they are al dente. Drain them and serve with the sauce. If you're not going to eat the gnocchi right away, they freeze beautifully on trays, apart from each other so that they do not stick together. When frozen you can keep them together in freezer bags.

For the crab sauce (yields enough for 3-4 servings of gnocchi):
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup of crab, shellfish or plain fish stock
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • Water
  • 4 tbsp virgin olive oil for the sofrito
  • Salt
  1. Dice the veggies and fry them in the olive oil on medium heat till tender.
  2. Add the tablespoon of flour and stir-fry a couple of minutes.
  3. Lightly toast the saffron (I put it on a piece of aluminum foil and use a lighter to heat it from underneath), crush it in a mortar and add it to the sofrito.
  4. Then pour the stock, add some water if needed, puree everything and leave to cook on low heat until it thickens, around 5 minutes.
  5. Try the seasoning and adjust if needed.
I know, if the sauce had pieces of crab or fish it would be tastier, but this is good enough for an improvised sauce.

Ñoquis patata 2

For the sea spaghetti crisps:
  • 1 bunch of sea spaghetti (himanthalia elongata)

In Spain seaweeds are sold dried or canned. I buy them dried, they last very long and you can hydrate them for use at any time. You take the dried seaweed and place it in a bowl with water, as long as directed on the package, to be well hydrated. Separate the stems and drain well. Then fry the strips in a deep fryer or skillet until crispy, about 2 minutes. Then you can add the seaweed to the dish in small bits, like you would add some shavings of toasted Serrano ham. And both ingredients have the umami flavor. Long live the umami. Oh, and you better try seaweeds and like them, because very soon they will be the only thing left in the oceans that we can possibly eat.

Then... plate the whole thing by heaping some gnocchi, pouring a generous serving of the steaming sauce and topping it with a bunch of crispy sea spaghetti... the assembly had a deep and delicious sea flavor.

26 comentarios:

Belinda @zomppa November 20, 2010 at 1:55 PM  

I love the addition of seaweed!!

Sarah November 20, 2010 at 2:14 PM  

lovely fusion cuisine and beautiful pictures as always. I have never used seaweed in my cooking and would love to experiment with it

Torviewtoronto November 20, 2010 at 3:45 PM  

delicious presentation

bellini valli November 20, 2010 at 3:54 PM  

I have some gnocchi frozen in the freezer waiting for its moment to shine.

Viviane Bauquet Farre- Food and Style November 20, 2010 at 3:55 PM  

Beautiful and original. Love the seaweeds... That's brilliant!

Jonny November 20, 2010 at 4:02 PM  

So, I too love the cunning use of seaweed, but I'm far more interested in the saffron crab sauce. I typically think of gnocchi as relating better to land than sea, but I think you are changing my mind. It's just such a beautiful color and I bet it's sweet and maritime with that ineffable quality of the azafran. Yet more great food. You never fail to impress!

Pretend Chef November 20, 2010 at 4:42 PM  

The saffron crab sauce sounds delicious! I do like seaweed, in sushi, being that I have never had it on it's own. You are so inventive... something I am not!

Domestic Diva November 20, 2010 at 6:02 PM  

Thank you!

And this looks yummy.

Gio November 20, 2010 at 7:30 PM  

i do love seaweed! a learnt to love them long before sushi, it did macrobiotic diet :)
your ghicchi are really good, will take note of the crab sauce, unusual and really tasty! :)

Simply Life November 20, 2010 at 7:59 PM  

oh my gosh! this looks INCREDIBLE!!!!

fromBAtoParis November 21, 2010 at 8:47 AM  

Confession: I have never made gnocchi in my life...!! The sauce looks interesting! Good tip about toasting the saffron..I never do that, bit coming from a Spanish girl, I should trust you!! Thanks!!

russ13 November 21, 2010 at 9:13 AM  

That looks like a great dish to make. This is the first time I've heard of such dish. It looks exotic but yummy. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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Tes November 21, 2010 at 11:51 AM  

This looks really delicious. I love homemade gnocchi. Thanks for the tip on saffron :)

Frank November 21, 2010 at 5:08 PM  

Miriam, You've elevated the humble gnocco into something truly sublime. Complimenti alla cuoca!

lisa is cooking November 21, 2010 at 6:55 PM  

I've gotten interested in using more seaweed lately. What a great idea to incorporate it into the gnocchi! And, the crab and saffron sauce sounds amazing.

Maria @ Scandi Foodie November 21, 2010 at 9:41 PM  

I love seaweed! Beautiful dish!

Cherine November 22, 2010 at 9:02 AM  

Wonderful dish. Looks so tempting! Love the addition if seaweeds! November 22, 2010 at 9:51 AM  

wow, this looks amazing! Thank you for sharing this with us :)

Trix November 22, 2010 at 2:48 PM  

Seaweed has always been my least favorite part of sushi, but that's because of the texture. I actually think I could look at it with entirely new eyes if it were all nice and crispy ... plus, I really like your sauce. (I mean in the dish of course ... )

Nisrine November 22, 2010 at 8:13 PM  

Such a beautiful gnocchi dish. Bookmarked!

Magic of Spice November 24, 2010 at 1:10 AM  

This is the flavor pairings and love seaweed :)
But I do love sushi, sorry...
I need to explore more with seaweed though.

Foodie Ann November 24, 2010 at 7:43 AM  

Beautiful pictures...Pinch of saffron on the bowl looks pretty...

Spicie Foodie November 25, 2010 at 1:09 AM  

It looks delicious Miriam! I love all the ways you suggested to prepare seaweed. I love sushi and love it in miso soup too. Such a great an unique take on Gnocchi. The video was funny too:)

Al Dente Gourmet November 25, 2010 at 10:58 PM  

Amazing!!! What a great combination!

Abrazotes, Aldy.

elra November 27, 2010 at 6:01 PM  

Beautiful !

Miriam November 30, 2010 at 11:28 AM  

Belinda: thanks!
Sarah: I've got to use them more... it's a very interesting ingredient.
Torview: thanks!
Val: mmm, you should try this, haha.
Viviane: thanks!
Jonny: thank you, you flatter me... :0
PC: I am not! I happened to find the idea of frying the sea spaghetti in a book and then I thought of adding it as garnish...
DD: thanks!
Gio: funnily enough, such a sauce is not unusual in Spanish cuisine...
SL: thanks!
Cristina: I learnt it from my mother... so it should be a wise thing to do!
Russ: thanks!
Tes: thanks!
Frank: I'm blushing! :0
Lisa: thanks, you should try this!
Maria: thanks!
Cherine: thanks!
MB: you're welcome!
Trix: crispy seaweed is a lovely thing to eat...
Nisrine: thanks!
MoS: nobody's perfect... XD
FoodieAnn: thanks!
SF: thanks!
ADG: besos!
Elra: thanks!


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