"I really enjoy making these fluffy, light, little pillows of potato. The best way to make the mash is to bake the potatoes in their skins in the oven on a tray of salt. Cook until soft inside, half them, then run through a mouli or potato ricer. The mash must be dry. Don’t over work the dough or be tempted to add too much flour as they will become bullet hard after blanching. Keep them light and fluffy. I love them sautéed with butter to give a hint of texture on the outside."
Prep time 40 minutes, cooking time 1.5 hours
4 to 5 large, floury potatoes
250g plain flour, plus extra for rolling the dumplings
1 large egg
A handful of wild garlic, finely chopped
Good salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of hard cheese like a Mull or Barwheys, grated
A few knobs of butter
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bulb of fennel, shaved on a mandolin or thinly sliced with a knife
A few salad leaves
A few shavings of hard cheese like a good cheddar
A drizzle of garlic oil or pesto oil to garnish, optional
A few sliced radishes to garnish, optional
Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6
Begin by baking the potatoes in their skins in the oven on a bed of salt until soft inside. This will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then scoop out the flesh and mash.
Mix 500g of the mashed potato carefully with the plain flour, then add the egg and combine. Add the chopped wild garlic, season with salt and pepper and add the grated cheese. Mix well but be careful not to overdo it.
Roll the dough in a dusting of flour to make a long sausage shape about the width of £1 coin. Cut the gnocchi into 1-inch pieces, pinching each one as you cut.
To cook, place into a pan of salted, boiling water and cook until the gnocchi rises to the surface on a rolling boil. This should take about 2 to 4 minutes, then remove from the water and place onto a cloth.
Heat a non-stick pan and add half the olive oil and add the gnocchi. Then add the butter and colour the dumplings until they are golden and almost crispy. Remove from the pan and season.
To serve, place several pieces of gnocchi on warmed plates with a handful of good salad, some fennel and a few shavings of hard cheese. To finish, I like to use a drizzle of wild garlic oil or the oil from any pesto. Also use some sliced radish if you like.