Guess what folks? It’s Chanukka, and you know what that means?
Fried stuff with cheese.
This post was supposed to be part of the Chanukka Blogger party going on, but as usual I didn’t have my act together to submit my post on time. If you want to get in on the party, head on over to overtimecook.com, and there should be a list of links of all the people participating. Stay tuned for some real chanukka posting coming soon to this here blog (hint – it rhymes with shmufganiyot…I can’t say anymore)
So yeah, everyone remembers the fried part of that, but people tend to forget that eating dairy is also a tradition (because Yehudis served dairy and wine to the opposing general, and when it caused him to fall asleep she killed him, saving the town). In fact some people think that the original latke, isn’t potato, but rather a cheese latke. So being Chanukka, I thought to myself – which one of the many posts that I have archived away, can I use for Chanukka, and somehow make a decent enough excuse as to why it somehow applies to Chanukka. Know what I mean?
Anyway, I made these a few weeks ago, and while they’re not really the purdiest things, they were pretty freaking good, ifidosaysomyself. Gnocchi is normally cooked potatoes, flour, eggs, which get boiled up, and then tossed in whatever sauce you serve it with. Along with the flour, it relies on the starch in the potatoes to make a solid structure, but you can use any vegetable with a fair amount of starch. In this case we used both potato and this variety of winter squash (I think it’s delicata) that I picked up at this farm’s stand near me.
To cook them, I placed them both in a closed ziploc bag with a little bit of water, and microwaved on high until done (like 10 minutes or so).
Traditionally, you take the cooked potato, and pass it through a ricer, but since I don’t own one, a neat trick is to pass it through a sieve, and that way you get the texture we want for gnocchi. I then combined it with flour, eggs, and salt. Whenever I make gnocchi, I don’t really measure out the flour and eggs, I just add it until it’s the right consistency I’m after. Remember that last time we made gnocchi? You don’t? Well refresh that memory of yours by clicking here.
All right, so on to the next part, the browned butter and sage.
Sage and browned butter are a very classical pairing, and if you’ve never tried it, try it, and you’ll understand. They are just made for each other (kind of like lime and coconut, youknowwhatimsaying?). Now, it’s not just butter, it’s browned butter. Butter is made up of milk solids and water, and when you melt butter, and it starts to sizzle? Well that’s the water evaporating out. Once the sizzling is over, the milk solids have time to develop flavor, and by browning, that’s exactly what they’re doing. So you take some butter, and heat it up until it sizzles, and then I like to lower the heat so you don’t wind up burning it, and let it brown away. Once browned, I add the chopped sage, let it cook just a little, and then add the cooked gnocchi to the sautee pan.
Top the whole thing with some parmesan (need I say freshly grated?), and toasted pine nuts, and thank me after.
Ok, so I know what you’re thinking. What does this whole shooting match have to do with Chanukka? Well it’s kind of fried, and it’s got dairy in it, so bingo-bango, you got yourself a new Chanukka tradition.