Fiola’s Gnocchi with Crab and Caviar

The fourth and fifth of the seven dishes at Fiola’s very special Christmas Eve dinner

Serves 6  

For the gnocchi

  • 2-¼ pounds baking or Yukon gold potatoes 
  • ¾ cup Italian OO flour or all purpose flour 
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano 
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3 large egg yolks 

For the Confit Shallots

  • 3 shallots, peeled and minced 
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • For the Ginger Juice 
  • 1 small knob of fresh ginger, peeled 
  • 1 cup white wine 

For the crab

  • Olive oil 
  • 12 oz crab (Alaskan King Crab legs, Dungeness or Chesapeake blue crab) 
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest 
  • Mixed tender herbs, such as tarragon, parsley, dill, marjoram 
  • 3/4 cup crab or fish stock* 

Optional garnish

  • 6 oz Siberian caviar (Fiola uses Calvisius Royal Oscietra, from Italy) 
  • Edible blossoms 

Make the gnocchi 

Bake the potatoes (skin on) at 350° until cooked through, approximately 45 minutes. Using a kitchen towel to protect your hands, peel the potatoes while they are still warm. Pass them through a fine sieve or a ricer, and spread the potato  evenly on the countertop or a pastry board.  

Sprinkle the flour, Parmigiano, nutmeg, and salt evenly over the potatoes. Put the egg yolks in the center and using your hands, mix the flour and other ingredients into the potatoes, working from the outside to the center. Knead the mixture just until a dough forms. (Chef Trabiocchi says “Avoid overworking the dough; the secret to light gnocchi is to handle the dough as little as possible.” Cover the dough with a dampened kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes. 

Dust a baking sheet and the work surface with flour. Pull off a small portion of dough and roll it under the palm of your hands until it forms a long narrow cylinder about ¾ inch in diameter. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into ½ inch pieces. Pressing gently, roll each piece down a gnocchi paddle or the back of a kitchen fork to form the characteristic ridges. Place the gnocchi in a single layer on the prepared pan, and repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the gnocchi with cheesecloth or a kitchen towel and refrigerate for up to six hours. 

Make the shallots confit 

Combine the peeled and minced shallots and olive oil in a small saucepan and bring to just a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat, and allow to sit until the shallots are translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. 

Make the ginger juice 

Combine the knobs of fresh ginger and white wine in a sturdy blender. Process until thoroughly combined. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. 

 To serve 

Heat the olive oil in a wide sauté pan large enough to accommodate the crab. Warm the crab through, then dust with orange zest. Cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water until they float.  

Finish the dish in a wide sauté pan, add the confit shallots, a teaspoon of ginger juice (to taste) and crab stock. Heat this mixture until vigorously bubbling then add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and whisk until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Add the crab, the gnocchi and the fresh herbs and toss to combine. Taste and add salt or pepper, as needed. Divide between the 6 plates.  

To make this dish even more elegant, to each serving, add a large quenelle of caviar, and a scattering of edible flowers.   

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