I often put this little number on the menu at the pub, simple and elegant yet very tasty. The lemon in the pesto works perfectly with the rich salmon, the gnocchi beautiful and fluffy like little pillows of joy as they say and the sharp parmesan all mingle in harmony.
Cook time 1 and a half hours, prep time 15 minutes, serves 2, Ingredients:
- 2 salmon fillets
For the pesto:
- A good handful fresh basil leaves
- 30g grated parmesan
- a good glug extra virgin olive oil
- 50g pine nuts
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper
- the juice from half a lemon
For the gnocchi:
- 4 medium sized maris piper potatoes
- 150g tipo 00 flour
- 1 medium egg
- pinch salt
For the salmon crust:
- 100g panko breadcrumbs
- 40g grated parmesan
- a pinch of finely chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
You can make the pesto beforehand, this will help you focus on making the gnocchi as its the most time consuming part of the dish. So for the pesto smash together all of the ingredients except the lemon in a pestle and mortar, you can pulse it in a food processor if you don’t have a pestle and mortar. Once the pesto is a coarse paste it is ready, add the lemon juice and taste adjusting the seasoning if needed. Add a little extra oil to loosen it up if needed. Chill this in the fridge the night before if you do make it in advance.
For the gnocchi pierce your potatoes gently with a fork or knife then roast on a salted baking tray for about an hour on 220 degrees Celsius. Whilst the potatoes cook you can quickly make your salmons coating, all you need to do is mix together all of the ingredients very simply. Maybe go have a drink and relax for a while until the potatoes are cooked. Once the potatoes are out of the oven you can begin to gently roast your salmon with a little oil at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.When the potatoes do finally cook let them cool until you can handle them without burning yourself then split in half down the lengths and put them through a potato ricer or mouli, if you don’t have either of these try and mash them very smoothly with a potato masher. Allow the mashed potato to come to room temperature then add your flour, egg and salt to them in a mixing bowl then begin to mix together with a fork, don’t over mix as the gnocchi will become firm, the opposite of what we want.
Once a delicate dough has come together tip it onto a floured work bench and knead for no longer than a minute, with that done you can take chunks of the dough at a time and roll them into long sausage shapes about an inch and a half in diameter. Once rolled out use a sharp knife to cut the sausages into about a thumbs width little dumpling shapes and coat with flour, once you have cut them all its time to make those nice little lined patterns on the gnocchi, this is achieved with a garganelli board or a fork if you don’t have one. In a quick motion moving away from you use your thumb to run the gnocchi down the board one by one to get the lines on them, continue until all your dough is used up. If using a fork roll it over the gnocchi on a work surface to mimic the garganelli effect.
Put a pan of salted water on the stove to boil ready to cook your gnocchi, while it boils you can add your crust to the salmon to toast in the oven whilst you finish the gnocchi. Plunge the gnocchi in the boiling water and cook until it floats, drain it off then in another saucepan warm your pesto and coat the gnocchi in the hot pesto. Dish up the coated gnocchi in 2 bowls then your salmon should be ready, place the fillets on top of the gnocchi to served and finish with a bit more lemon juice. I garnished mine with a bit of fresh rocket.
And there it is, a great meal for two. This dish also works brilliantly witch roasted chicken breasts or even the gnocchi and pesto alone is delicious. Maybe try red pepper pesto instead of basil, that’s great as well. Buon appetito!