Before I moved to Italy, I'd never experienced the delicate pillowy loveliness otherwise known as gnocchi. While I lived there, I made it my mission to eat gnocchi on an almost daily basis. I looked for any and every reason I could find to head down the street and pick up an order of handmade wonderful. Gnocchi justification was practically a full time job. Finally, I decided that they were vitamins for "happiness". Who needs any more justification than that?
Unfortunately since I moved back to the states, I rarely take my "vitamins". Nine times out of ten, when I order gnocchi, it's a pile of heavy, tough sadness. So, for the most part, I gave up my quest. . .
. . . until I decided to finally. . .
. . . give it a go at home.
And as is customary, the justification process began again, this time with a raw kale salad plate partner.
Hello happiness, so good to see you.
Carrot Gnocchi & Raw Kale Salad with Almonds and Preserved Lemons
This recipe for various flavors of gnocchi by the fantastic Mark Bittman needs no alterations. It does take a bit of time to make the dough and form the gnocchi, but you can double the recipe and then freeze them (put the gnocchi in the freezer on a parchment covered tray making sure they don't touch - once they are frozen you can bag them and save them for a quick meal at a later date). Also, since it is a hands on process (literally), it's a great project to do with kids. They can roll out the dough into ropes and make their own uniquely shaped dumplings. With spring afoot, I chose to make the carrot variety and toss them in a simple brown butter sage sauce.
For the salad you will need:
- 2 bunches of kale (curly or dino kale work well)
- 3/4 -1 cup of sliced raw almonds
- 2 lemons (medium sized)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- Fresh ginger root
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
In a sauce pot over medium heat combine the water and sugar. While that is heating, cut one of your lemons into thin slices (about 1/8" thick). When the sugar has dissolved add the lemon slices (they will need to simmer until their rinds go translucent about 20-30 minutes). While the lemons are cooking, wash your kale and coarsely chop it, making sure to remove the stocks. Place the kale in a bowl and drizzle over a bit of olive oil (just enough to coat the kale lightly) and add the juice of one lemon. Massage the kale with your hands (kids love this part) until the color begins to change and the kale feels quite a bit softer. Set aside for a few minutes.
When the lemons are translucent, take them out of the syrup and lay them on parchment paper for a few minutes (don't discard the lemon syrup). To finish off the salad, add the almonds, a tsp of the lemon syrup, and grated fresh ginger to taste. Give it a good toss and top each serving with a couple of the lemon slices (the sweetness is a great contrast to the fresh bite of the kale). Pair with gnocchi and enjoy!
*Last time in Recipes: Spring Vegetable Tart