Magazine article Sunset

French Dumplings Get an Italian Look

Magazine article Sunset

French Dumplings Get an Italian Look

Article excerpt

You make fish "pasta," serve with tomato sauce

A PLAYFUL TWIST ON the classic French fish dumplings, quenelles, turns them into new-wave Italian gnocchi. The fresh look of the dish comes from forming the fish base into tiny, pastalike shapes and serving them with a fresh tomato sauce.

Because the gnocchi are not hand-formed, they are easier for the novice cook. But the dish takes a little organization. Puree fish mixture and make tomato sauce ahead; have butter sauce ingredients ready to heat when you start to poach the gnocchi.

Gnocchi, Fisherman-style

1 pound boned and skinned firm-texture, light color fish such as halibut, rockfish, or swordfish, cut into chunks

2 large eggs

2/3 cup whipping cream

Warm tomato mince (recipe follows)

White butter sauce (recipe follows)

About 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Fresh basil leaves (optional)

Salt and pepper

In a food processor, smoothly puree fish, adding eggs 1 at a time. Pour in cream with motor running. (If using a blender, smoothly puree fish and eggs; scrape container sides. Add cream with motor running.) If making ahead, cover and chill up to 3 hours.

Spoon about 1/2 the puree into a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8- to 1/2-inch-wide plain tip; cover and chill remainder.

In a deep 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat, bring about 1 1/2 inches water to boiling. Reduce heat to keep water at a simmer. Twist top of pastry bag tightly shut, then continue to twist and press, forcing fish mixture out in 1/2- to 3/4-inch-long segments; cut from tip, as formed, with a blunt knife and drop into the water. Make 30 or 40 gnocchi at a time (do not crowd pan or pieces will stick together); gently run a spoon under them if they start to stick to pan bottom. Cook until gnocchi feel firm when lightly pressed, 2 to 3 minutes, then lift out with a slotted spoon and place on towels to drain briefly. …

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