Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gnocchi, Zucchini, Tomatoes & Olives Salad

I saw this recently in an Australian magazine, Vogue Travel and Entertaining, and thought it was an ideal recipe for Spring or Summer, as it uses lots of colorful vegetables, and is great as a side dish with barbecued fish or meat. It is a recipe by Australian chef, Daud Kendall, and served at his Byron Beach Cafe in Byron Bay, New South Wales, which looks like it would be just as at home right here in Southern California.

The recipe below gives the ingredients and instructions for making your own potato and goat's cheese gnocchi, but if you don't want to do that, or you simply don't have the time, you can buy potato gnocchi in the pasta and frozen food section of most specialty food markets. It is also available online at stores such as Gourmet Pasta and Cheese.

Goat's Cheese Gnocchi with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Olives and Pesto
(Serves 4-6)

To make the :
  • 4 large potatoes, scrubbed
  • 3 1/2 oz soft goat's cheese, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil for frying
To make the Salad:
  • 3 1/2 oz soft goat's cheese, crumbled
  • handful zucchini flowers, if available
  • 7 oz green zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 7 oz yellow zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 7 oz red cherry tomatoes
  • 7 oz yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 2 oz pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pesto for drizzling
  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees centigrade, and bake potatoes for 1 hour or until tender. Cool slightly, halve and scoop out the flesh, then press through a potato ricer or mash them.
  2. Add the goat's cheese, Parmesan, flour and egg yolk to the potato and, using your hands, knead to form a dough (you may prefer to use a food processor for this).
  3. On a floured surface, divide dough into 6, roll portions into 1-inch wide, long sausage shapes, then cut into 1" pieces with a floured knife.
  4. Bring a large saucepan of water to a gentle simmer and cook the gnocchi in 2 batches, for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, place gnocchi in a bowl of iced water to cool, then transfer to a baking paper-lined tray.
  6. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and saute gnocchi, in 3 batches, for 5 minutes, turning, or until browned on both sides. Transfer to a tray and keep warm in the oven.
  7. Heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan over medium heat.
  8. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Add zucchini flowers, if using, tomatoes and olives, and cook for another minute.
  10. Gently toss vegetables with the gnocchi.
To serve, divide gnocchi mixture among bowls, scatter with remaining goat's cheese and drizzle with a little pesto.

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