Around the world in 80 dishes No. 58: Gnocchi with crayfish

Ingredients to serve 4

500g desiree potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
120g plain flour
1 live crayfish approximately 600g
Olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 leek, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
500ml dry white wine
250ml fish stock
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Pinch of saffron threads
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped to a pulp
Salmon roe
Chervil leaves


To make the gnocchi, boil the potatoes until soft. Drain them and pass through a potato ricer or food mill, and then through a fine sieve. Leave to cool. Mound the potato and add the egg and salt. Add a little flour at a time and mix with your hands to form a soft, smooth dough that isn't too sticky. Roll the dough into thin logs (you might need to lightly dust the dough with flour) and cut into 2cm pieces. To create the classic gnocchi shape, roll the pieces over a ridged butter paddle.

To cook the gnocchi, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, and have a bowl of iced water ready. Carefully add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until they rise to the top. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and immerse in cold water. Set aside.

Bring another large saucepan of water to the boil, with another bowl of iced water ready. Put the crayfish in the boiling water for 10 seconds, then lift it out and immediately immerse in the iced water. This helps to separate the meat from the shell. Once it has cooled completely, split it in half lengthwise and remove the flesh. Cut into 2cm pieces.

Heat some olive oil and sauté the carrot, celery, onion, fennel, leek, garlic and herbs until beginning to soften. Add the head and shells of the crayfish and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, then pour in the fish stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain into a saucepan and set it over low heat to keep the stock hot.

To serve, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and lightly sauté the garlic and saffron. Add the crayfish and sauté until lightly coloured (about 2 minutes), then add about 1/3 cup of the stock and the chopped tomato. Stir. Drain the gnocchi and gently fold into the sauce to warm through. Spoon onto plates and garnish with salmon roe and torn chervil leaves.

Taken from 'Italian Food Safari' by Maeve O'Meara with Guy Grossi (Hardie Grant, £20).

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