Smoky Aubergine Gnocchi with a Tangy Lemon and Chilli Sauce, Sweet Tarragon and Tomato Compote and firm to the bite French Beans
(Please excuse the very rustic Gnocchi…. Dinner was planned for us at 8 p.m and after waking at 6.30 p.m, several hours later than planned from my Siesta, there was really no time to be forming beautiful Gnocchi)
I’m very privileged to say that as of August, you’ll now find me hosting once a month Adult Cookery Classes at Bensels Cookery School, where I am doing my apprenticeship. This means I am now starting to write my own recipes….. it’s all a bit new to me but here is a good place to practice! I have however made a slight school boy error in that I didn’t weigh anything which is not very practical for anyone who would like to recreate these dishes. I do apologise, anyway recipes are just guidelines, these are anyway… and as my two favourite Chefs would say “The best thing about a Recipe is not to stick to them”. So there you go!
Smokey Aubergine Gnocchi
- 1 HUGE Aubergine, it was really massive.
- 4 medium floury Potatoes
- 1 Egg
- about 150g Flour
- Salt, Smoked Paprika, Nutmeg
- Pierce the skin of the Aubergine in a few places with a knife and then place it under the grill to burn the skin the Aubergine. It should be completely black all over. Allow it to cool. When it’s cool enough to handle, peel away the charred skin and throw away. Place the soft, smoky Aubergine in a sieve and press any excess fluid out.
- Wash the Potatoes but don’t peel them. Boil them in salted Water until they are completely cooked through. Whilst they are still hot peel them and put them through a Potato Press. It’s a lot easier when they are still warm.
- Bring a saucepan of Water to the boil. Meanwhile add the Aubergine, Egg and some of the Flour to the Mashed Potatoes. Season with Salt, Nutmeg and a little bit of Smoked Paprika. Quickly mix together with your hands but take care not to over work the dough otherwise the Potato Starch will become slimy. Depending on the type of Potato and how moist the Aubergine is you will need to add more Flour. The Dough should be just firm enough to take the form of a Gnocchi.
- Take a small about of the Dough and on a floured surface roll it into a thin sausage. Cut a Hazelnut size piece. Add Salt to the boiling Water, and then try it! You should be able to taste the salt. Place the Gnocchi in the Water. The Water should be simmering but not violently boiling. When the Gnocchi floats to the top take it out and try it. If it’s not firm enough then add some more Flour. Season accordingly. The quickest way to make Gnocchi is to roll the dough out into thin (or thick, as in my case) rolls and then simply cut the roll into smaller pieces. If you have time then take the Hazelnut piece and roll into a ball and using the back of a fork roll the piece over the edge of the fork to create ridges in the form. Cook the Gnocchi in batches and place in a sieve to drain.
- When you are ready to serve the Gnocchi heat a little Butter in a frying pan and toss the Gnocchi in the Butter so that they are warm again.
Lemon and Chilli Sauce
- 1 Carrot, 1/4 Leek, 1/2 Stick of Celery, 1 Bay Leaf, a few Black Peppercorns
- 50 ml White Wine
- 1/2 piece of Salted Lemon, just the peel, finely chopped.
- 1 red Chilli
- Pinch of Turmeric
- about 1 dessert Spoon Cornstarch
- 1 Lemon, Zest and Juice
- Cut the Carrot, Leek and Celery into fine slices and then place in a saucepan with about 400 ml Water, the Bay leaf, and the Peppercorns. Bring to the boil. Add the White Wine and reduce the liquid to about a third of the quantity. About half way though add the salted Lemon and a few slices of Chilli.
- Pour the liquid through a sieve and return to the heat. Add the pinch of Turmeric. Taste and add a little Lemon Zest and half the Lemon Juice. Taste again. You probably won’t need to add Salt due to the Salted Lemon. Add Chilli to taste.
- In a separate bowl add a little of the Stock to the Cornstarch and mix thoroughly. Add a little bit of the mixture to the boiling Stock and allow to thicken. Keep adding until the liquid has slightly thickened and covers the back of a spoon.
- Add a little bit of Butter to the sauce and taste for seasoning again.
Tomato and Tarragon Compote
- 2 Large Tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped into 1 cm cubes. Beefsteak Tomatoes would be best here.
- 1 small Shallot, finely chopped
- 1 Garlic Clove, finally chopped
- 3 dessert spoons Sugar
- 3 Tarragon Stalks
- Tarragon White Wine Vinegar
- White Wine
- Salt, Pepper
- Add the Sugar and a little Water to a pan and on a high heat let the Sugar dissolve and the Water evaporate until there is a golden Caramel. Before it gets to dark add about 50 ml of Tarragon Vinegar and 50 ml of White Wine. Reduce the liquid and then add the Tomatoes and a Tarragon Stalk. Sprinkle with a little Salt. Allow the Tomatoes to lightly cook, reduce the liquid and then remove from the heat. Remove the Tarragon Stalk and check the Seasoning. Allow to cool. Add some finely chopped Tarragon before serving.
Simple Green Beans
- 2 handfuls of French Beans. Stalks removed and chopped into thirds.
- 1 Shallot, finely chopped.
- A little Butter, Olive Oil, Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
- Bring a saucepan of Water to the boil. Add enough Salt so that it tastes like sea Water. Add a pinch of Baking Soda. Place the Beans in the Water and boil for about 4-5 Minutes. In the meantime prepare a bowl of iced Water. When the Beans are cooked but still firm remove from the Water and place in the iced Water. This stops them from cooking further and becoming too soft. Drain the Beans through a sieve.
- Heat a little butter with a little Olive Oil in a pan. Gently sweat the Shallot, add the Green Beans, and toss until the Beans are Warm again. Season with Salt and Black Pepper.