Pan-fried potato gnocchi with charred cream of corn and crispy bacon
- POTATO GNOCCHI
- 1 kg large floury potatoes
- 1 extra-large egg
- 250 ml cake flour, plus extra for dusting
- 5 ml fine salt
- 60 g butter, for frying
- CHARRED CREAM OF CORN
- 2 fresh mealies, kernels cut from the cobs
- 750 ml fresh cream
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- TO SERVE
- 125 g smoked streaky bacon, finely diced and fried until crispy
- 1 handful mange tout, finely sliced
- 30 ml very finely diced red onion
- pea shoots, optional
- brown butter (see method)
For the gnocchi, place the potatoes (skins still on) in a pot and cover with cold water.
Place on the stovetop and bring to a boil until tender (it takes about 30 minutes – continue with the charred cream of corn in the meantime).
Remove from the heat and drain. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then remove the skins.
While still warm, press the potatoes through a relatively coarse sieve (or use a cheese grater to grate finely) – you’re looking for potato fluff, not a dense potato purée.
Place the fine potatoes in a mixing bowl and add the egg, flour and salt. Stir with a fork until roughly mixed, then knead swiftly and lightly by hand to a soft dough (just a minute or so), adding more flour if needed.
Divide into eight equal pieces.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into long strands of about 2 cm thick, then cut into 3–4 cm lengths.
Place on a lightly floured tray. When all the gnocchi are ready, fry them in butter (in batches) in a large non-stick pan.
For the charred cream of corn, dry-fry the corn kernels in a large non-stick pan over high heat, stirring often until the corn is charred and fragrant – it takes about 15 minutes.
Transfer the charred kernels to a pot (reserve a few for garnishing, if you like) and add the cream.
Heat up until it just starts to boil, then remove from the heat and leave to steep for 30 minutes.
Transfer to a blender and blend to a purée. Press the liquid through a not-too-fine sieve in batches, removing the solids.
Taste the cream and season generously with salt and pepper, then cover with a lid and set aside.
While frying the gnocchi, heat up the corn cream.
To serve, ladle warm cream into wide bowls, then top with the freshly fried gnocchi, crispy bacon, sliced mange tout and onion, and top with pea shoots and the reserved corn kernels, if using.
Swirl in a spoon of brown butter, then serve at once. For the brown butter - melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Keep on cooking until it bubbles, swirling the saucepan every now and then. After 5–7 minutes the butter will start to foam and it will release some golden brown bits on the bottom and a wonderfully nutty flavour.
Remove from the heat and keep swirling until the foaming subsides.
Recipe extract from Cape Mediterranean by Ilse van der Merwe published by Penguin Random House. The book retails for 360