Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Leftover Mash

Mashed potatoes. Is there a lovelier, more comforting food in this world? Oh, humble spud, they call you starchy tuber of the solanaceae family, but I call you a hug with calories*

Regular old mash with a stupid amount of black pepper is enough to keep me happy, but if you find it dull, try adding a teaspoon or two of wasabi paste. You won't be disappointed.
But anyway, what to do with leftover mash, eh?

One of my favourite things to do is gnocchi, a potato dumpling. It's a little bit time consuming, something to do when you have an hour free to potter about in the kitchen listening to Tom Waits, but home made gnocchi is much tastier & lighter in texture than shop bought gnocchi.

You'll need:
leftover mash. About 450g. A bit more or a bit less is fine, this isn't an exact science!
1 egg, beaten
plain flour (variable, depending on the texture of the mash)
1/2 tsp of salt
seasonings of your choice (like nutmeg, mixed herbs, fried onions, roasted garlic..)

In a bowl mix together the potatoes, salt & egg. Add your seasonings (I'm a nutmeg girl myself). Add the flour, one tablespoon at a time, mixing as you go, until you have a soft dough (the mixture should not be sticking to your fingers anymore, though most of you will be covered in flour & you'll be able to do a pretty good Marley's Ghost impression)

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface & cut into roughly walnut-sized pieces. Roll the pieces into rounds (don't worry if they're different sizes) & toss in flour, as they will get sticky when left to their own devices (traditionally gnocchi are shaped by fork & a thumb into a ridged curl shape. It's a fiddly process & I suck at it). If you have more gnocchi than you can eat, it freezes well at this point. Just make sure each dumpling is well floured & put into freezerbags/tupperware/old margarine tubs & stick in the freezer.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil & drop the gnocchi into the water. They will sink to the bottom & lurk in the cloudy water for a few minutes. When ready, they will rise to the surface. Scoop them out.
Now what? Well, they're pretty good with a simple tomato sauce, or tossed in butter & garlic and topped with grated cheese, or drizzled with a lemon dressing, or baked with chunks of pumpkin in a sage & Stilton sauce...

*A hug with butter being a rather more specialised area of the internet that we will not be getting involved in

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