Potato Gnocchi with Lobster and Peas

Lobster+Gnocchi Potato Gnocchi with Lobster and Peas

I know – a little ridiculous, isn’t it? Lobster? Me? On a Tuesday of no real consequence? I don’t think I’ve ever bought and cooked a lobster tail before, but found myself picking up a frozen one yesterday in order to address the issue of a glut of last year’s frozen lobster in the Maritimes (which doesn’t seem to be affecting prices on the prairies at all) on the show this morning. Marketers are calling it the new bologna. (Which, I can’t resist saying, is baloney. Bologna is selling for $2-$4 per pound, lobster is still around $30+ for the frozen stuff.)

If a couple weeks ago I went through a cake phase, I’m now tripping through a sort of dumpling phase; these food themes seem to come out of nowhere. I never plan them; if I do, they hardly ever pan out.

This week I have made peroghies, two kinds of ravioli, pork wontons, spinach pasta (I suppose that doesn’t technically count, although it was doughy) and sourdough dumplings. Am I missing something? Oh yes, my waist. Not that I had one before.

To top it off, this morning I made lobster gnocchi. Or rather I made the actual gnocchi last night, in between shifts searching in the cold, windy dark for a lost dog. I mixed the dough, rolled it into ropes, cut and rolled the pieces on the tines of a fork while talking on the phone (to a friend who kindly went out in search of said dog. No, it wasn’t Lou – have I mentioned I’m dogsitting, and currently have three in my charge? Does inhaled dog hair count as fiber intake?) It is due to this circumstance I can attest making gnocchi by hand is neither time consuming nor requires a particular degree of focus. The idea came from one of my favourite dishes at Brava Bistro. You can find the recipe on their website, but it was altogether too complicated for my level of motivation. I decided to dumb it down a little, and wing it.

I was going to make ricotta gnocchi, but the ricotta was used up in that lasagna, so I ended up throwing a few russet potatoes into the oven to make plain old potato gnocchi instead. I thought I was settling. I was not.

Potato+Gnocchi Potato Gnocchi with Lobster and Peas

My biggest problem with gnocchi has always been that it’s just a little too much – too heavy, too gummy. Something I can’t eat an entire bowl of, even when I have no problem downing that much pasta. It just tends to sit in a lump in my stomach. But these were ethereal little dumplings, even eaten plain, straight out of the pot. They were even better tossed with melted butter, which is how W ate his. (After much protest, let me tell you.) But with the lobster stock, simmered down a bit and whizzed with butter? There are no words.

Seriously, I thought this would be a nice sort of thing to make for a special occasion. And it would, but it isn’t nearly as fussy as I imagined it would be.

Potato Gnocchi with Lobster

If you like, throw a handful of frozen peas into the water along with the gnocchi.

Gnocchi:
4 small-medium russet potatoes
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. cream (heavy or half&half)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 lobster tail, thawed if frozen
1/4-1/2 cup butter, cut into bits

To make the gnocchi, bake the potatoes in a 350 F oven for about an hour, or until tender. (This keeps them from getting watery, and also retains more nutrients and potato flavour.) When they are cool enough to handle, peel them and press them through a potato ricer (looks like a giant garlic press – very effective in getting rid of all lumps) or mash until smooth with a potato masher. Stir in the egg, cream and salt until well blended, then stir in the flour. You should have a nice, soft dough – if it’s sticky, add a bit more flour, a spoonful or so at a time.

Divide the dough into 6 chunks, and roll each into a rope that’s about 3/4″ thick. With a knife or pastry cutter, chop into 3/4″ pieces. Roll each piece over the tines of a fork (I do this by rolling the back of the fork back and forth over each piece, starting at a cut side so that it grips better), then place them on a lightly floured baking sheet. At this point, the gnocchi can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen.

To cook the lobster tail, put it in a medium pot with about half an inch of simmering water; cover and cook for 7 minutes. Remove the tail and set aside; continue to simmer the small amount of liquid until it reduces a bit, then add the butter and cook until it melts. To emulsify it, put it through the blender or blend it with a hand-held immersion blender – it should remain liquidy but as it cools will have a consistency closer to hollandaise. Pull the meat out of the lobster tail and chop it.

When your lobster and sauce is ready, cook your gnocchi: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi in batches, not crowding the pot, for about 4 minutes or until they rise to the surface of the water and puff up a bit. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Drizzle the sauce and lobster meat over the gnocchi, season with pepper if you like, toss to coat and serve.

Serves 4 (with extra gnocchi left over).

Have I expressed strongly enough how excited I am to be sharing my starter with you? And that no one (who identified themselves, anyway) thought I was crazy? I am frantically cutting and feeding bits of it in jars that are quickly taking over my fridge like a giant science experiment. I will come up with the logistics of distribution (and try drying some) soon!

One Year Ago: Homemade Mozzarella

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March 31 2009 04:51 pm | one dish and pasta and seafood

14 Responses to “Potato Gnocchi with Lobster and Peas”

  1. jenn(in Niagara) on 31 Mar 2009 at 7:12 pm #

    Is there a trick to the rolling of the gnocchi, i can never get it to look so nice, mind you i dont make it that often. maybe it is a matter of practicing….:)

  2. Dana mccauley on 31 Mar 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    How funny that we are both telling ‘lobster tails’ today? Thanks for your comment on my blog. I appreciate being kept in touch with what’s happening in the rest of the country!

  3. JulieVR on 31 Mar 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    It’s actually really easy, once you don’t try so hard (which I used to do!) – just roll the back of the tines of the fork over the piece of dough – that’s it. I was being lazy about it – since it was for radio – and it actually turned out better than the way I used to do it!

  4. H.Peter on 01 Apr 2009 at 4:29 am #

    Great combo. Since they are easy to make gluten free, we eat Gnocchi a lot.

  5. Manon from Ontario on 01 Apr 2009 at 4:44 am #

    Wow, you totally out cook me!

    Sugar shack season almost to the end, was an ok season so far, no complaints here.
    We usually open our sugar shack to the public one weekend in the season and it happens to be this coming weekend, but unfortunately the local newspaper forgot to put our add with our hours of operation in the newspaper!!! So I yesterday I thought I’d make pamphlets with the info and send them to the post office for mailing, $$$ but after discussing it with my husband, we will just be opened this weekend and hope people come out.

    Build it and they will come?!

    Have a great week guys.

    MFO

  6. Corine on 01 Apr 2009 at 6:52 am #

    Go for the live whole lobster…cheaper to buy one, less time to prepare than waiting for a frozen tail to thaw, and isn’t fresh always better than frozen?

  7. JulieVR on 01 Apr 2009 at 6:57 am #

    I didn’t mind the thawed meat. And I didn’t have to go through the trauma of committing lobster murder myself! (My initial motivation for buying frozen was on account of the glut of frozen lobster out in the Maritimes, and what to do with it all?)

  8. Lana on 01 Apr 2009 at 7:21 am #

    I am drooling over my keyboard. Have never made homemade pasta or gnocchi but just might now! What a perfect thing to do on a rainy weekend…such beautiful comfort food.

  9. Heather on 01 Apr 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    Please tell me you found the dog?!

  10. JulieVR on 01 Apr 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    Oh yes! My neighbour did, actually, hiding in his back yard! Phew!

  11. Vivian on 02 Apr 2009 at 6:14 am #

    Now why have I never thought of cooking my lobster tail in a little bit of water and then reducing it to make a sauce? Brilliant idea, simple and not as involved as steaming. A little trick I learned to keep the tail straight is to insert a skewer or bamboo stick down the centre of the meat…easier shell removal and it cuts into nice slices for presentation.

  12. Kate on 02 Apr 2009 at 8:26 am #

    Your creative culinary ways never cease to amaze me.
    In the midst of a schedule that two people would find busy, preparing starter, making “naked” pasta with W :), a lost dog and now homemade gnocchi and lobster on a week day night is phenomenal. Do you have a T-shirt with a giant S on it… and don’t be surprised if W starts wearing his underwear on the OUTSIDE of his clothes too. Superwoman and Superman both did!!! :) :)

  13. Pierre Lamielle on 02 Apr 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    Oh my god… I’m not exxagerating at all but when I saw those gnocchi I stopped breathing for a while! They look incredible!
    Never seen them in quite that shape before, totally gorgeous!

  14. Monica I. on 16 Dec 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    Julie – have you tried making this with potatoes AND potato flour or potato starch? Or another combination of gluten-free flour? I’m willing to experiment, but if you’ve already done some testing of alternatives, I’m keen to skip the duplication.

    Many moons ago, I was skimming through one of my mother or Grandmother’s cookbooks and saw a pergohy dough made entirely from potato, but I have not yet (after many hours of combing through the collection) found the recipe again. :-(

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