I always like doing an ambitious dish because it’s fun and I get to spend the whole day cooking. Yesterday was really ambitious because I made three things; the cauliflower-kale soup, used the leftover dill for pork dumplings, and this. Even though this dish took forever, the final result was sooooo delicious. I had to refrain myself from drinking the shiitake mushroom by itself because this was a very labor-intensive process!
I had a lot of vegetable scraps from the cauliflower-kale soup and the trimmings of the raft ingredients so I made my own vegetable stock for this consommé. Just FYI, the organic carrots that I use are as thick as your fingers.
For the Gnocchi
- 1 large Idaho potato
- ¼ cup AP flour, sifted
- 1 whole egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 small bay leaf
- 2 thyme sprigs
- Olive oil
Cook the potato with its skin on in cold water with the bay leaf and thyme until done. Drain, and peel the skin. If you have a food mill, process them. If not, like me, mash finely with a fork and allow to cool.
Sift the flour over the potatoes and add in the salt, cheese, egg, and using your hands, work the ingredients into a soft dough ball. Do not overwork!
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut off pieces of the dough and using your hands, roll into cylinder shapes. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Press the gnocchi lightly with the tines of a fork or roll them off a gnocchi board. Cook the gnocchi in the salted water and gnocchi are done once they float to the top of the water. Shock in ice water, drain, and transfer to a large tray. Drizzle olive oil over gnocchi to prevent sticking.
For the Consommé
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, julienned
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 10 shiitake mushrooms, julienned
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- 5 egg whites
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 thyme sprigs
In a stockpot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes.
Place all ingredients – shallots, celery, carrots, shiitake, tomato paste, egg whites, bay leaf, thyme – in a bowl and whisk gently. Add the warm vegetable stock into the bowl and whisk well. Pour the mixture back into the stockpot and bring to a simmer, while stirring often.
A raft will foam and by this point, stop stirring or else you’ll break the raft. At a low simmer, cook for 1 hour. Do not stir or boil. Poke a hole in the center with a ladle and use the ladle to pour the liquid over the raft once in awhile. This will moisten the raft and will further the clarification process.
When the hour is up, turn off heat, and let it to rest for 10 minutes. Then carefully use a ladle to pass it through a chinois lined with cheesecloth. Transfer to a clean pot and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and keep warm.
For the Other Garnitures & Finish
- Baby taro
- Shimeji mushrooms
- Olive oil
Tomatoes: cut “x” on the tomatoes, season lightly with salt and olive oil, and bake in a preheated oven at 300°F for 20 minutes. You still want the tomatoes to be firm and remove the skin. Set aside and keep warm.
Baby Taro: boil a pot of salted water. Add in the taro once water is boiling and cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Remove from water and cut into obliques. Set aside and keep warm.
Shimeji Mushrooms: boil in salted water, set aside and keep warm.
Watercress: wash and pick through, saving the nice sprigs for garnish.
Gnocchi: melt butter and wait for butter to turn a light brown color. Sauté the gnocchi immediately and season lightly with salt. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.
In a shallow bowl, arrange tomatoes, taro, gnocchi, and mushrooms in the center. Ladle consommé into bowl and top with watercress garnish. Serve immediately.