A gourmet dish for a dinner party.
2-1/4 lb. potatoes
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
9 oz. shelled mussels*
12 oz. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Pinch of saffron threads, lightly crushed
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
* Alternatively, you can use baby squid or clams.
Step 1: To make the gnocchi, steam the potatoes for 25-30 minutes, until tender, then mash in a bowl or pass through a potato ricer into a bowl while they are still hot. Stir in the flour, egg and a pinch of salt and knead to a soft elastic dough. Shape the dough into long rolls about 2/3" in diameter, then cut into 3/4" lengths. Press them gently against the side of a grater and spread out on a lightly floured dish towel.
Step 2: To make the sauce, heat the olive oil with the garlic clove in a saucepan. When it begins to colour, remove and discard the garlic. Add the mussels** and tomatoes to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Meanwhile, put the saffron into a small bowl, add a little lukewarm water and let soak. Stir the saffron and its soaking water into the sauce, season with salt and pepper, stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.
Step 4: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the gnocchi in batches and cook until they rise to the surface.
Step 5: Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce. When all the gnocchi have been added, transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.
** Preparing Mussels & Clams: These simple cleaning procedures remove any grit and, in the case of mussels, barnacles attached to the shell. It also allows you to locate any mussels or clams that are cracked, damaged or no longer alive making them unsafe to eat.
Step 1: Scrub the mussels or clams with a scourer or knife to remove any barnacles. The shells should be closed. If the shell is open, sharply tap it and it will close if it is still alive. If it does not close, discard it.
Step 2: Pull away the byssus, or beard, from the mussel. Clams do not have beards. Keep the mussels or clams in a bowl covered with a cloth and not in contact with water. Discard any that are cracked or broken.
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Reprinted with permission from The Silver Spoon's Fish, $49.95 (2012 Phaidon).