Pan-Seared Gnocchi With Brussels, Kale, Toasted Walnuts & Garlic Shake
This recipe has been adapted from Google Chef Charlie Ayer's Cafe Calafia Café / Calafia Market a Go Go. Impressive little pillows of joy pan-seared with Brussels sprouts and kale ribbons topped with toasted walnuts and garlic hemp seed parm to make it sing. This dish can be prepped ahead and pan-seared when ready.
4TBSPsnon-virgin olive oil or avocado oil, divided, you will add it to the pan one TBSP at a timenot extra-virgin normally used in salad dressings, you want a high smoke point oil for cooking
1 lbBrussels sprouts 4 - 5 cups quartered
1TBSPminced fresh garlic or minced garlic from the jar
½ - 1teaspooncrushed red pepper flakes optional
8ozlacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale 4 - 5 cups cut into ribbons; if you don't like kale you can use spinach, just add it to the pan at the very end because it cooks more quickly than kale
½cupwalnutscoarsely chopped walnuts, to dry lightly dry toast in a pan.
½ - 1teaspoonsalt
½ - 1teaspoonground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with rock salt. Cut a few 1" - 2" side vents into each of the potatoes. If you are using large russet potatoes, cut four to five side vent into each potato. You will be halving the potatoes lengthwise after baking and you can use your vents as guides for cutting.
Place the potatoes on the rock salt-lined baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. While the potatoes are baking, make the 5-Minute Garlic Shake and prep the Brussels sprouts and kale. Chop the walnuts. Remove potatoes from the oven and halve lengthwise.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. (I use an 8-quart stockpot and fill it most of the way with water.) Add a bit of salt to the water. I use an induction stove that boils water very quickly, so I usually wait until I am mostly done making the dough to start boiling the water. However, this is the point where I fill and salt the pot and place it on the stove.
Let the potatoes cool enough to handle, but don't let them cool completely. You want them to be as warm as possible while being able to handle them. Pull the skins off or scoop the potato meat out with a spoon, rubbing the skin to get all of the potato insides out. Let the potato insides drop into a large bowl. Discard the skins or save them to eat.
Mash the potatoes with a fork or whisk. If you have a ricer you can run them through the ricer like The Google Chef. I don’t have a ricer so I've never done that. Add 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper while mashing. If the potatoes have cooled and aren't mashing well you can pop them in the microwave.
Add the flour to the mashed potatoes in 1/4 cup intervals, using your hands to work the flour in with each addition. Mash any remaining potato chunks with your fingers as you knead the dough. You want to use as little flour as possible to achieve a nice ball of dough.
Once you suspect you have the right dough consistency for the gnocchi to float, tear off a few tiny pieces, roll them into balls, and drop them into the boiling water. If they rise to the top without falling apart, that's good, but you still want to taste it. It may take a few minutes for the dough to float. To taste them, remove from the boiling water with a strainer or slotted spoon and set them on a cutting board for a few seconds letting them dry off. If they taste gummy, add flour to the dough by the tablespoon until you get a firmer dough.
When you are happy with the consistency, roll the gnocchi into a rope about 3/4" wide and cut into approximately 1" pieces. If you are pan-searing the gnocchi don't make indentations with a fork because you will get a better sear on the gnocchi if it is flat.
As you cut the gnocchi, you can lower it into the big pot of water using a strainer or slotted spoon. Even at a low boil, the gnocchi will float. The time the gnocchi takes to float varies, it usually doesn’t float straight away though. Sometimes, the gnocchi takes a few minutes to float. The beauty of gnocchi is that it floats when it’s done, on its own timeline. Keep adding the newly cut gnocchi and removing the floating gnocchi, placing it on a cutting board. Try to keep the gnocchi from touching each other when you place it on the cutting board. Alternatively, you can cut all of the gnocchi and then start placing it in the pot in batches.
You can now freeze and store the gnocchi if you have chosen to make the gnocchi in advance. If freezing, layer in an airtight container, placing the gnocchi so that it is not touching each other on pieces of parchment paper. Otherwise, you can go right into making Pan-Seared Gnocchi With Brussels, Kale, Toasted Walnuts & Garlic Shake.
Make the 5-Minute Garlic Hemp Seed Parm a.k.a. Garlic Shake by putting all ingredients into the food processor, reserving 1/4 cup of the hemp seeds. Pulse until sand-like. Next, add the reserved 1/4 cup of hemp seeds to the food processor and lightly pulse once or twice. You want to combine the remaining hemp seeds but leave them whole to give it a varied texture. Adjust salt or add more hemp seeds to lessen the salt, if preferred.
Toasting The Walnuts Then Pan-Searing Kale & Brussels Sprouts
Add chopped walnuts to a dry, small pan and toss occasionally until fragrant over medium heat. Then leave them in the warm pan while you pan-sear the gnocchi, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large skillet or sauté pan at medium-high heat. Add 2 - 2½ cups of gnocchi, spreading the gnocchi out in one even layer on the pan. Let the gnocchi sear without tossing for 1 – 2 minutes. Then toss the gnocchi, adding a TBSP of water. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes.
Add 1 TBSP oil to the pan and add 2 – 2½ cups Brussels sprouts, letting them sit and brown for 1½ - 2 minutes. Then add 1 TBSP of water and another pinch of salt. Toss the gnocchi and Brussels sprouts until they are nice and seared. Then add 2 - 2½ cups of kale ribbons and toss, turning the heat down to medium-low. Toss the kale and let it soften for about 2 minutes. You have just made 2 big servings. Repeat for 2 more big servings or save the rest for later. Top with toasted walnuts and a generous amount of garlic shake. Add more crushed red pepper if desired.