Friday, August 26, 2011

potatoes, potatoes

when making gnocchi, potatoes are key. the standard recipe for gnocchi that you will see in many cookbooks is about 1 kg of mashed potato, either achieved by baking or boiling with skin on etc., 300g of flour and a couple of eggs, or maybe one egg, one yolk. you see the problem lies in the potato itself; some are more floury than others, some are already most of the way to wall paper paste. the amount of water that is in your potato determines the amount of extra moisture that you may need to add via eggs, but also the amount of flour, and to get a good gnocchi you need to be as sparing as possible with the flour. the key to making good gnocchi is to make them often. i did most of my training with my children, who fell for the interactive element and like making a mess with flour. with a decent baking potato, and egg youlk and a little flour you can have homemade gnocchi in ten minutes. just microwave the potato, scoop the flesh, give it a mash and then add the egg yolk and enough flour to make a soft dough. alternatively you can make them in bulk and freeze after poaching because they freeze brilliantly. my tip for the additions would be that you add the flour first to the potato and use a fork to incorporate. they should form a nice breadcrumb consistency that you can pinch together to form a dough. then add your egg and work together. i shall be putting a video up on the website in september to show the next bit because it is probably the most difficult bit, you need to take your dough, work it and form it into long sausages that you then cut and shape using your thumb, very quick, or a fork, pretty but not so quick. poach, then cool and freeze, or cool and reheat by frying in olive oil or butter.

so why this missive. well this menu the gnocchi have been coeliac (gluten free flours) and vegan (no eggs). this can pose a problem; gluten feee flours tend to be powdery and have no wish to combine and the no egg exacerbates the first problem. the solution, it appears, lies with the potato. usually when making gnocchi you want a nice floury potato, just like the ones that i used yesterday. up until then we had used a potato that was a little more starchy and whilst the gnocchi were nice and easy to make (the sausages rolled perfectly) i wanted a floury potato. well i got them yesterday and to say that it was a nightmare would probably be over-stating it a little. it was certainly a pain in the proverbial. the problem was that once i had added the flour that i wanted, a combination of tapioca, potato, rice and buckwheat, and brought it together with my fork, the bloody dough refused to have any elasticity; as soon as i started to roll my sausages, they fell apart. i could have worked around this by adding water and more flour but then you end up with potato gnocchi where the star ceases to be the potato and can be gluey. the solution was to roll each gnocchi in my hand separately. i made round gnocchi, big gnocchi, small gnocchi, loads of forking gnocchi and that is why we have gnocchi on as infrequently as we do. so good bye gnocchi, until christmas, and potatoes, potatoes to you all.



No comments:

Post a Comment