March 26, 2010

From buttery brioche to caramelised torrijas…

Torrijas are a traditional spanish sweet that is made particularly for Easter. I’ve recently read that in fact, just in Madrid, about 5 million torrijas are sold! We are about 3 million, so make your calculations! For those who don’t know, traditional torrijas are made by soaking thick slices of stale bread (any bread will do, but a special enriched pan au lait loaf is sold at this time for that purpose) in lemon rind and cinnamon infused milk. Then, they’re dipped in an egg wash and fried until golden brown. While still hot they are coated with a ground cinnamon and granulated sugar mix or with a hot infused syrup (I definitely prefer them just coated).
Apparently the analogy is that torrijas, like Easter, represent life and death of Christ. To the catholics, bread represents the body of Christ, who dies at this time, just like torrijas are “dead” (stale) bread. The milk and the eggs are a metaphor for the required baths for the body to resurrect, and the frying reflects the suffering he went through. So, the body is resurrected just as the “dead” bread is, that’s why it’s considered a divine dessert in Easter.
But, it is not these torrijas I’m referring to but a “pain perdú”-like version I first tried in Mugaritz back in 2002 (take a look at this photo), which had me dreaming about this dessert…until I learned how to make them during a short stage there. I wonder if the idea to this dish came from Martin Berasategui, as years later I found his book “Calendario de Nuestra Cocina Tradicional” on “refreshed” traditional cuisine published in 2001, which gave a very similar recipe. The beautiful book, by the way, is definitely worth having. I’ve been looking into it, since Andoni Luiz Aduriz was part of the group Berasategui at that time. Some sources say it was Aduriz’s creation, other Berasategui’s…what does it matter anyway? What matters is that it was created!
To describe it to you…imagine a thick butter-soft brioche soaked to saturation in an infused milk and cream mix, then seared from all sides in a sugar and butter caramel. So that when you take your first spoonful, you break the crisp outer caramel layer to expose the inner juicy and creamy brioche sponge. You’ll just have to try it!…The recipe that follows is a slightly simplified version, as the original after being caramelised on the skillet is layered with an almond pastry cream and further caramelised. I’ve omitted that part as it’s already good as it is…so why add more?
I’ve also included a recipe for brioche adapted from the fantastic Dan Lepard, in case you feel brave enough to do it and delight yourself with the buttery aroma that fills up the house!…and the incredible taste and texture, of course!

Brioche and Torrijas
(for one ~400g brioche loaf and 6 or 8 torrijas)
For the brioche:
200g strong flour
20ml milk
3.5g instant yeast or about 10g fresh yeast, see this yeast conversion table).
100g eggs (about 2 L eggs…Dan also adds in a yolk but I haven’t included it)
25g caster sugar
4g salt
125g butter cut into small dices (this could be up to 150g)
1 extra egg to brush over the brioche
*Plus, you’ll need a dough scraper to work the dough!
For the torrijas:
The brioche loaf resulting from the above recipe (or any other brioche or pain au lait sort of bread loaf about 400-500g)
300g cream (35% fat)
300g whole milk
150g beaten egg (it’s 1/4 the weight of milk and cream together)
90g granulated sugar
(optional flavourings: I used a strip of orange rind, 2 of lemon and 1 cinnamon stick. A bit of orange blossom water instead is fantastic…but I’ve kept traditional)
extra granulated sugar to caramelise the torrijas
extra butter to grease the pan to caramelise the torrijas
For the brioche, 1 day ahead, boil the milk and leave until room temperature. This is done to destroy casein, a milk protein which toughens the crumb).
top up with warm water to bring back to 20 ml, if some milk evaporated.
Stir in the yeast and 1 tbsp of the total flour
Cover and rest about 20-30 min.
Beat eggs, yolks with sugar and salt and pour in.
Add remaining flour and mix as quickly as possible so that the flour takes in the liquid homogeneously. When completely mixed, cover and leave to rest 30 min.
Scrape the dough on a work surface and work it for a little bit until it feels slightly less sticky using this fantastic french kneading technique demonstrated by Richard Bertinet (if you look in you tube for “french dough kneading” you’ll find a funny video on the same technique). I think it works wonders with this sticky dough, the idea is to lift the dough and slap it against the work surface, then stretch it up and fold it in half over itself in an arc to trap air…using a pastry scraper as often as you need to bring the dough together, YOU WILL NEED IT!
Start incorporating the butter (it shouldn’t be too soft if you are doing it by hand, specially if in summer or it will melt and be a mess) and working it in little by little by kneading in the manner just described (lifting, slapping, stretching and folding) until your dough is soft and elastic, and starts to come off the surface by itself…and your fingers!
I think this step is important to develop the gluten. I’ve tried the same recipe without working the dough until it didn’t stick and believe me, the result is completely different. It is buttery alright, but it has a more cakey crumb structure. Also, I must warn you that by hand it took me a good 15 minutes to get to that stage! It’s good workout, though!
Cover and rest at room temperature for about half an hour, give it a book fold, turn 90º and repeat to get a tight ball and then place in the fridge overnight covered with cling film.(You could actually at this stage, leave it in the fridge for 2 or 3 days until ready to use it, just degas it if it rises).

The next day…it won’t have doubled, don’t worry. Butter a loaf tin, shape the dough into a cylinder and place into the mould.
Let rise until almost doubled (it will take about 2-3 hours). I’ve placed it in a cold oven over a pan with boiling water because since it’s winter, that way it will be at around 20-25ºC (in the house it’s not even 18ºC!) and with the vapour it won’t form a skin.
Brush with the beaten egg and bake at 180ºC for about 20 minutes. It should be dark golden brown and if pierced be completely dry. Remove from the oven.
As soon as it can be handled, remove from the tin and cool on a wire-rack
I wish you could smell the richness of the crumb, it’s sooo soft!
You can let cool and do the torrijas then, or you can just leave it for a day or two and do it without a problem…
Let’s begin by preparing the infused cream, if you decide to infuse it. Berasategui and Andoni don’t, but I like the traditional touch of the lemon and cinnamon. Like I said in the introduction, my favourite so far is plain, that is, not infused but with a touch of orange-blossom water! To infuse, just bring the milk and cream to a boil together with the cinnamon, lemon and orange rinds.
Cover with film wrap and let infuse for at least half an hour, or ideally until cool.

Meanwhile cut your brioche into torrijas. Cut all borders off to get an even rectangle and then you have two options. Either cut the brioche into 6 thick slices (about 60g each, which is the recommended serving portion) or cut it in 8 pieces, which I think is a reasonable size…plus, you get more torrijas! To do this, you would cut the brioche in half lengthwise and the into 4 slices. Below are is a photo showing you both options, the brioche is cut in half and each can be cut in 4 or 3:
See below each portion side by side…not that big of a difference, after all!
Beat the eggs and add in the infused cream mix and the sugar and stir until dissolved. Then strain into a tupper which will fit all the torrijas side by side.
Cover and leave to soak, turning once, for ideally over 8 hours. I always leave it overnight to soak up all the tasty and creamy mix.
The next day, when you are ready to serve your torrijas (you can do this ahead, but since it is nicer warm-ish, just place in the over at a very low temperature to warm a little, just a little or you’ll coagulate the egg and the filling won’t feel as juicy!) get as many as you want off the bath.
It varies a lot on the type of “bread/brioche” you’ve got how it sucks up the liquid and how it keeps together. If you see that your “brioche” is leaking a lot of liquid as you remove the torrijas to caramelise, then place them over any type of rack to remove excess liquid or they’ll break apart when you cook them.

Warm up over medium heat a frying pan as big as possible to hold all the torrijas you want to make in one batch with ample space to turn them comfortably and confidently!(specially your first batch!)
When it is warm, dust a thin layer of granulated sugar over the side of the torrijas that will go in first…
With a bit of kitchen paper grab a dollop of butter and grease the pan surface with it. Place your torrijas on the pan, sugar-coated side down.
When you see the bottom caramelised, it should take very little, a bit over 10-15 seconds (you don’t want to caramelise slowly or more juice will come out and the egg will coagulate) add another thin layer of sugar over the tops and turn with a spatula big enough to lift them up whole.
If you are not too confident, you could stop here, in fact in the video link of Berasategui in the introduction, he just does two sides…But if you dare go on, I think it’s much nicer caramelised on all sides to keep in the creamy juices.
So, turn your torrijas on their side, even if they have no sugar and coat the side that results facing up and immediately place that side down.
Now you can do the other side that’s been slightly “branded” with some more sugar.
Repeat with the last two sides. What I do is I keep the kitchen paper I used to grease the pan and after each turn, remove excess caramel attached to the pan, so that it doesn’t burn and stick to the torrijas as they turn. I’ve got to be honest, this is the way I like to do it so the coating of sugar is very fine and it doesn’t dissolve with the liquid. If you find it’s too complicated, what is usually done is to coat the torrijas with sugar on all sides and keep turning them, so you don’t have to bother to keep adding on each turn. Try and decide which method you prefer.
Remove the torrijas onto individual dishes to serve or a tray to later place onto dishes.
Finally, while warm clean up the pan with extra paper, since while it’s warm, it will come out easily, but later….it’ll be hell to clean up! Just watch your fingers, it’s caramel!
So, what do you think? Isn’t she pretty?
And let’s see inside…
Is that creamy or what?
And the crust, oh, the crust!
A delight! I hope you decide to try it and see for yourselves! Ah, warm with a scoop of fresh cream ice-cream (in Mugaritz it’s served with fresh sheep’s milk ice-cream and confit lemon zest)…I have no words!
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March 19, 2010

Thai red curry…balanced sweet,sour,hot and salty!


Did I mention in my previous post that I really like italian food? I did…and it’s true, I really like italian food. I know I was cautious with my words and I specifically wrote that “I really like” it…I hate that in english the word “love” is often overused: I love you, I love my dog, I love weekends, I love ice-cream! in the end, saying that you love something is the same as that you like it. So, I saved my “I love” in relation to food, for thai cuisine. I love Thai food! I can definitely admit to that!

There’s something about thai food that just gets you hooked on it…the fresh and flavourful ingredients, the pungent aromas, the perfectly balanced combinations. I think it is amazing how all dishes have an equilibrium in all four flavours: sweet, sour, hot and salty. Plus, the extra of how healthy this food is…you can share 6 dishes amongst 2 and half an hour after finishing your meal, feeling light in your stomach again!

Thailand smells of food, there are always street vendors specialised on particular dishes with their carts on the street, the smells of kaffir lime, lemongrass, strir-fried shallots, coriander, ginger, coconut, curries, spices fill up the air. It definitely is more than just food for nourishment, it awakens your senses, it satisfies your soul!


Sadly, I believe that outside of Thailand, it is quite difficult to recreate all those dishes, to stir the same emotions, or so has been my experience. But, a decent curry is an approachable dish to bring back memories, to have a little piece of Thailand. The ingredients are not so difficult to find, at least for the sauce…so you can adapt it to your liking with combinations of vegetables, poultry, meat or fish that will go with it. Here I’ve made a simple red curry (the basics I learned from a chef who worked in Thailand and from David Thompson’sThai Food” bible) and I’ve accompanied it with beef, lychees, courgettes, aubergines, onion and red pepper. I liked the colour and flavour combination…maybe David Thompson would tell me that I got it all wrong, but I think it feels close to some curries I’ve tried over there. I hope you try it and enjoy it and please…serve it with jasmine rice! (that’s a must!).

Beef & lychees thai red curry

(enough for 4 hungry people as main dish)

For the curry:

2 cans (400g each) of coconut milk

~40g sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)

4 kaffir lime leaves (fresh ideally, otherwise frozen)

3 or 4 small lemongrass stalks, bruised

~60g of thai red curry paste

~45g of palm sugar

10g of tomato concentrate (optional, it’s just for colour)

~30g tamarind paste (could substitute for lime juice, about 15 ml)

fish sauce (to taste)

To serve with the curry :

400g beef (a lean tender cut) sliced in finger-size pieces

140g courgette (about half a smallish one)

80g red pepper

150g aubergine

half an onion

about 8 lychees (fresh or canned)

sunflower or any other neutral oil for stir-frying

pinch of salt

For the boiled jasmine rice:

150g jasmine rice (1 measure)

~220g water (11/4 measure)

If possible, plan ahead to place the coconut milk cans for at least half an hour in the fridge before you start to prepare the curry. That way, the thick cream will set on the top and the watery milk will sit underneath.


Into a pan that will fit the curry sauce, spoon out the thick cream from both cans and reserve aside the watery bit.

Incorporate the kaffir lime leaves and the bruised lemongrass, to release the aromas…


Add the bit of oil. We want the coconut cream to separate, to “fry” the paste in, but since canned milk has been homogenised, it is difficult to separate, so we add oil to help in the separation and to replicate how fresh cream splits.


Bring all to a boil and keep it at medium heat until the cream looks split (it will take around 10-15 minutes)


Just a note, it’s best if you keep it covered in the process, as it will splatter!


Now, add the paste in…a quick note: I think this curry is “mild” for my taste, but Linguini when he tried it thought it was rather hot. We evidently have different perceptions of heat. So, if you are not into hot food, add less than the specified amount the first time. Though, the flavour will be much milder in the end after adding the sugar and the tamarind than if you try it before.

We want to “fry” the paste, not boil it, that’s why we’ve split the cream. This affects the final taste, so do not skip the splitting part, even if you think it doesn’t look appealing. The paste, depending on it’s ingredients, should cook for about 5-10 minutes to release it’s aromas. With 5 my paste was ready (if you can get hold of a fresh paste, please do so!). While the paste fries, keep stirring to prevent it from burning. This is how it will look, it’s ok!


Optionally you can add concentrate tomato puree for colour. I like to do so…


Now you should season the mix. First, add the palm sugar…


I break it up in the mortar so it incorporates and dissolves better


Then, add the salty “fish sauce” (it basically substitutes sugar and imparts flavour…far from the fishy smell you get when on it’s own). Add very little to start with, you can correct at the end if more is needed to balance the curry.


Now the sour note. Add the tamarind concentrate or if you cannot find it lime juice is a reasonable substitute.

Finally, add the watery-milk you had reserved. I often leave a bit out to get a thicker curry. In this case I left 50g out, but it’s personal preference on how runny you want your sauce.

Taste and adjust seasonings and your curry sauce…is ready!!!


You can keep this sauce for well over a week in the fridge and use add it to freshly stir-fried ingredients whenever you want your curry. It will form a layer of the solidified oil on top, that also helps in conservation. Just be sure to take both oil and cream when you use it.

Now for the stir-fry…Aren’t these beautiful? I think the colour combination is pretty nice, plus the tastes go well together.


First, cut all your vegetables into bite-size pieces. The pepper I cut in 2 cm wide strips lengthwise and then each strip on triangles. The onion in julienne and the courgette and aubergines in half lengthwise and then each half in 6ths or 8ths and then into the length we want


Heat up your wok over high heat and drop a spoonful of oil and stir-fry the vegetables in batches so they don’t overcrowd the wok and cook instead of frying and set aside


Last stir fry the meat, also in two batches, so it browns well.


Set all these aside and in the same wok heat up the amount of sauce you want. I used a little more than half of the original recipe.

Add your veg, meat and lychees and it’s done!


Just serve with some fresh coriander over and jasmine rice!


For the rice, place it in the pot where you’ll be cooking it, it should be a size adjusted to the amount you’ll be making, my pan for 150g of rice is 18 cm in diameter, not very big.

Wash it in fresh cold water and rinse. You’ll see it’s really cloudy. Repeat 2 or 3 times more, until it’s almost running clear.

Strain and place again in the pan. Add the water and a bit of salt (usually no salt is added, as the curry itself should be seasoned just right, but I still like to add a little).

Bring to a boil covered. When it is boiling, bring the heat right down to a minimum ( in my induction where 11 is the maximum, I put it on 3!). You want it to cook very slow. Set your timer to 9 or 10 minutes.

You can peek when 9 minutes have passed (I used to be obsessed that you should never open it up or you’d lose the vapor…ehem, it’s ok!). If it already has absorbed all the water, turn off but keep covered for 5 minutes more. If your rice is harder and you try it and it’s very hard, add a bit more water and add extra minutes, but it probably will be about right.


Ahhh, the aroma of jasmine rice fills up the kitchen!…Enjoy both!


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March 13, 2010

2x1 potato dough: Light gnocchi and wafer-thin crisps

I really like italian food, for it’s simple and honest ingredients and it’s earthy and comforting recipes. Who doesn’t like a creamy, flavourful  funghi porcini risotto, or a slice of a true Neapolitan pizza with fresh buffalo mozzarella, or a calzone bursting with spinach and ricotta, or a tasty rosemary and olive oil focaccia seasoned lightly with salt flakes, or paper thin ravioli with a nutty beurre noissette and sage sauce… I think you get the idea! mmmmm…I wouldn’t mind a quick trip to Rome and finish off my meal with a nocciola ice-cream and a good espresso!
But, it is none of those I mentioned before, but another italian classic with simple, cheap ingredients, that put together turns into a wonderfully tasty and comforting dish, that I bring to you today: gnocchi di patate. “Simple & plain potato gnocchi?” my brother asked when I told him about my next post, “no rocket in the dough, nothing?” No!… believe me when I tell you that these gnocchi are simple, but they are not like those gnocchi ready-made, that are dense and fall in your stomach like rocks. These are light and delicate and they take up the sauce very well, so they themselves need no more than just that: potatoes, flour, salt & pepper and parmesan.
You can accompany them with your favourite sauce, a creamy gorgonzola one, a light pesto, “burro e salvia”, bolognaise…But I like them with this almost caramelised tomato, garlic and olive oil sauce (rosemary is optional) and served with shredded fresh basil leaves, freshly milled pepper and grated parmesan. So simple, but sooo nice. Give it a try and tell me (this actually goes to my brother, so he takes back his words :-) I love you too!)
One last note, many people add eggs or yolks to bind the dough, but I’ve learnt that if you choose the right potato, it must be a floury one (the British Council even has developed a scale from 1 to 10 to rate potatoes from waxy to floury, check out this fantastic table), the flour you need to add to bind the dough so that it doesn’t disintegrate in the cooking water is minimum and the result is a very soft dumpling. Adding eggs will result in a dough not as soft but with more bite plus it introduces more moisture, so often you need to compensate with more flour. On the other hand, I remember being in a lecture by Carlo Cracco in Madrid Fusion in which he said quite the opposite, that if you add eggs, less flour is required (here’s the official recipe, though in the lecture he just used yolks)…I personally believe the first is true, that is, no eggs means softer gnocchi, but if you like you can try adding 1 egg or yolk per 500g of cooked potato to see for yourselves. Buon appetito!

Potato gnocchi with caramelised tomato and garlic sauce
(serves 4 people as first dish or 3 as main!)
~700g FLOURY potatoes to end up with 500g of cooked potato (I used kennebec, but find which variety is best where you live. I’ve read that for those who can find them, russets are excellent. For the UK see the table linked in the introduction)
~100g all-purpose flour (Ideally use no more than 150g!)
30g parmesan, grated
fine salt
5 medium garlic cloves
500g fresh ripe vine tomatoes
50g extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp granulated sugar
pinch of salt
(optional: 2 sprigs of rosemary
To serve
extra grated parmesan
freshly milled pepper
4 or 5 basil leaves (shredded)
Before I begin, let me show you how I chose my potatoes! I had looked up which might be the most floury varieties available here. So, in the supermarket I made a little hole with my nail on a potato of each variety, to try to determine which was drier (old potatoes are also better than new ones) and felt more floury! Thank God nobody was watching!:-)
You can actually feel it, the waxy ones will feel juicy, whereas the starchy ones are definitely drier and have a grainy texture (in case you want to try!). And these are the potatoes I finally chose:
So let’s begin. Preheat your oven to 180ºC. Most recipes boil the potatoes in their own skin, but I think cooking them in the oven is an insurance, in case your potato isn’t floury enough, as it dries them much more.
Wash and pat dry your potatoes and pierce them a few times with a skewer or a fork, so that moisture evaporates. Place them in a tray in the oven for about 1 hour (test piercing with a fork, when it offers no resistance, they are ready.
Meanwhile (you have 1 hour to do your sauce!) cut your garlic cloves in half, if it has any germ, remove it, this is what is makes you re-taste garlic for hours! Since garlic right now isn’t particularly fresh, mine had a rather large one!
Cut each half in 3 or 4 lengthwise and chop these the other way around to obtain finely chopped pieces.
Warm up the olive oil in a frying pan at low heat and put in the chopped garlic and the rosemary if you are using (I really like the flavour it imparts even if you are adding basil later). Let them fry very lightly, they should take their time to infuse the oil with the wonderful aromas and the garlic should barely colour.
Prepare your tomatoes ( if the garlic is ready, put it aside while you do this. Remember the cooking will continue as you take it off the heat. So, if it begins to colour, turn off the heat. If it continues, stop it with a drop of water).
You want to peel them and deseed them. You can do that by plunging the tomatoes in boiling water for about 10-15 seconds, after removing the scar that joins to the stem and cutting a cross through the skin on the opposite side. Then, immediately removing them onto an ice-bath (a bowl of cold water with ice to stop it cooking and becoming mushy.
Otherwise, this is how I do it most often because I’m lazy to set up boiling water and an ice-bath, unless it’s for a huge amount of tomatoes. Wash the tomatoes and cut them in fourths. Deseed them sliding your finger in to remove the seeds from each fourth. Then flatten the wedge (if some flesh sticks out, slice it off first to have a flat surface) and run the knife, underneath your fingers pressing down, as close to the board as possible to cut off the skin.
Whichever way you did it, chop the wedges in small squares. Add these to the garlic and turn up the heat to medium high.
Season with the sugar and salt.
It will only take about 10 minutes to cook off the moisture from the tomato and end up with a sort of jam-textured sauce. Turn off the heat and set aside. The resulting sauce, will look caramelised, almost like a jam in texture…
Time to do your gnocchi! When the potatoes are ready, weigh them to know how much you’ve got. They will have lost a lot of weigh, and though peeling you’ll lose some weigh, it’s just about right, and that way you can rice it straight onto a work surface.
If you have around 500g, perfect, if not, adjust the amount of flour accordingly.
These are floury, all right!
While they’re still warm peel it or cut in half and scoop out the flesh into a ricer or a food mill and press it through onto a clean working surface. The reason behind doing this while warm is that being hot, more moisture evaporates, than if riced after they cool.
In Italy it’s said that it’s best to have a wooden surface to work doughs, as this way the dough only takes up the flour it needs…Well, I have granite, and it works OK. Just, if possible, keep a dough scraper at hand to bring your dough together if it sticks to the surface, avoiding to add unnecessary extra flour.
So, as soon as you’ve riced your potatoes, add the salt first, so it dissolves into the warm puree, then 3/4 of the measured flour and the parmesan…
Please tell me you have a Microplane or Cuisinepro Accutec grater…I use them for everything! I grate garlic to avoid dirtying the mortar to mash it, chocolate for tiramisú, almonds into cloud-like consistency, citrus rinds for flavouring dishes…No, I don’t get commission! 
Bring it all together into a homogeneous dough. It’s always adviced not to overwork it to develop the gluten, but you will have to knead it a bit until it is workable. That is, you can stretch a piece into a cylinder without it breaking apart…a bit like play dough!
What I do is I  have the pan of water where you’ll boil your gnocchi already simmering. There, drop a little pea-size ball of dough to test if it needs any more flour. It should rise to the surface in a few seconds. If it disintegrates, then it needs more flour.
When your dough is right, divide it into 4 or 5 pieces. Take one and dusting a little bit of flour on the surface, roll it into a cylinder that is about 1 cm in diameter (I like my gnocchi fairly small, that way they are more delicate and mix better with the sauce). With a knife, cut the cylinder into in 1 cm pieces. See how long you can roll it?!
This is how I arrange my work surface to roll the gnocchi and then to shape them. The wax paper you see is where you’ll place the shaped gnocchi. It must be a manageable piece, so you can lift it up and drop them into the boiling water with it.
To shape, in Italy there’s an utensil called “arriccia gnocchi” (if I spelled it right!) that is pretty cool (and cheap there too!) This photo I got from this catalogue.
arricia gnocchi
Since most of us don’t have one, a fork does a great job. I prefer a dessert fork as the ridges are closer together and smaller, but up to you. Some people even use the back of a cheese grater to make the imprints.
What works for me is to have the fork, upright, holding it slightly at an angle, so the tines are touching the surface. With the other hand, grab the gnoccho and place it cut-side up (so it shapes rounder) in the middle of the fork tines. Now, with your thumb, press down and away towards the end of the fork. As you slide, the dumpling will shape like a “c”. An image is worth 1000 words, I hope you get it from here:
You cannot imagine how difficult it was to take these pictures on my own!I had to play circus…and hold the end of the fork with my bellybutton, to manage to hold it in that position to shape the gnoccho and take the photos!!!:-)
So here’s your first gnoccho!
I’ve needed very little flour, but dust as needed if the dough is a bit sticky. As you do them, place them on the wax paper.
And…they are ready!!!
Make sure your water is boiling. Salt it. Grab the wax paper from both sides and carefully lift it up
Then, just slide carefully the gnocchi into the boiling water.
As soon as they rise to the surface, remove them onto the sauce.
Fold them in carefully into the sauce, they are very delicate. Serve onto a plate and drizzle with extra olive oil, grind a bit of black pepper, add shredded basil and grate some parmesan…DELICIOUSSSS!!!
Now, the little extra-discovery…One day I tried to sauté gnocchi, but since they are sooo soft, that is, just the amount of flour needed, they got stuck onto the surface of the frying pan (Cracco also said that to sauté the gnocchis he wouldn’t boil them first, but he would sauté them directly and that that suffices to cook them! So, I’ll do that next time)…What happened is that the thin layer that stuck cooked and I pulled it out as a single strip of potato crisp! It was super tasty (not like chips but like roasted potato) and incredibly crunchy thin… I had to take a photo!
I remember in Thailand there was some weird dough, I only saw this once, that they would grab whole (it was huge!) and place it against a frying pan, and then lift it up and a wafer thin crêpe formed in the pan, like those rice wafers for nems, but fresh. So I tried that, using the whole of a gnocchi dough to place it against a pan and hoped just the right amount would adhere and form my crisp! But it didn’t work out as expected. The dough was too dry! So, I will play around with it to get just that photo above! Meanwhile I tried something that works and is also really nice, surprisingly!
I grabbed a piece of dough, shaped it to a ball and dusted it with flour to stretch it out super thin…
Then, lightly oiled a hot frying pan surface with some kitchen paper and placed it in. Turned it over and….voilà…a wafer-thin potato pancake to substitute lavosh crackers!Try it with some salted cod brandade, or a dip of your choice: muhammara, baba ganoush, you name it!
It looks sort of like mexican tortillas there, but see how translucent it is? And really crunchy and tasty, as well.
So, there you go, 2 for 1 potato dough recipe…for gnocchi and potato crisps to substitute crackers for you and something to keep me entertained for a while!
I hope you like them!
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