This is the last meal I was to cook in the old house. I didn’t think about it at the time. It was late, we had been turning out drawers and we were hungry. I poked about in the fridge and found a punnet of flat mushrooms and a bowl of leftover roasted tomatoes. On a lower shelf was the remains of a Brillat-Savarin cheese I had bought back from France. On a shelf in the larder I found two packets of vacuum-packed gnocchi. These can be a bit vilely slippery when plainly boiled, so I like to fry them afterwards to add a bit of crispy chewiness.
Once that decision was made, the whole meal took ten minutes. Simply boil a large pan of salted water, tip in the gnocchi and cook according to packet instructions (a few mins). Fish out when cooked and drain. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil & butter in a large frying pan and when hot add the thickly sliced field mushrooms and salt generously with Maldon salt. When the mushrooms are are cooked, tip in the gnocchi and the tomatoes.
The trick here is not to keep pushing the gnocchi about in the pan after the initial stir through. You want them to get nice, crispy bottoms, which will only happen if you resist the temptation to poke them too much. Obviously don’t let them burn, and keep the heat at low-medium. I wanted to add some baby spinach too, but there was only a wee handful, which is the green in the photo below.
When you have them gently browned on each side, check the seasoning – you’ll def want to add a couple of generous grinds of black pepper. Then add in the cheese so it melts softly. I used a triple creme cows milk I bought in France, but goats cheese, ricotta, mozzarella or any soft cheese would work wonders here. Finish with some torn basil if you have any.
Vacuum packed gnocchi
Roast tomatoes – sunblush or sun-dried would also work here, or even halved baby plum or cherry.
Baby spinach (optional)
Maldon Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black pepper