Seared gnocchi is the foundation for this sweet umami-packed miso and pea creation. The charred red onion adds a nice counterpoint, its taste, texture, and colour.
My culinary memory includes some great dishes, and peas are right there near the top. From an early age, peas frequently featured in the classic “meat and three veg” New Zealand diet. While the boiled cabbage and the flaccid cauliflower took years to get over, the sweet, succulent peas were always a highlight.
While inspired by that “one of the three veg” memory, this recipe veers off in a very different direction and becomes something much more interesting. Using chicken stock and dashi to cook the peas and as a base for the puree adds so much flavour enhancing umami that you really get to experience this humble vegetable in a very different light. Then, there is the miso, in this case, sweet miso, bringing additional complexity to this delectable combination.
One of the other “three veg” was potatoes. They were a constant. Mashed, roasted, or boiled new potatoes, there was seldom a meal without them. The gnocchi is the stand-in for the potatoes in this dish. Yet, “stand-in” does not do gnocchi justice. Potato gnocchi is so simple and so delicious, though not so simple to make. The light pillows of potato and flour are a vehicle, the equal of rice and tofu. Gnocchi puts a spotlight on the flavours it is served with.
The charred red onion
Drizzling with soy sauce and charring under a broiler make these red onions a colourful and flavour-packed addition. They were really well suited to this dish, as while bringing some needed crunch and colour, they added some additional sweetness.
If you have the time and can get the right potatoes, try to make the gnocchi yourself. They can have a much lighter, fluffier texture than the prepackaged variety. The right potato variety is essential, though and will mean the difference between heavy “gluey” gnocchi and light “fluffy” gnocchi. The best potatoes to use are Russet or Yukon Golds.
This gnocchi with miso peas is one of many gnocchi recipes on delectabilia. Also, there are instructions on how to make your own gnocchi. It takes a bit longer, but it is really satisfying to make it yourself.
Seared gnocchi with miso peas and charred red onion
- 1 kg gnocchi see recipe link, or buy a pack of pre-made gnocchi
- 20 g butter or ghee
- 2 medium red onions
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- To a large pot of boiling salted water, add the gnocchi.
- When the gnocchi are all floating, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon or strainer.
- Sauté the gnocchi in the butter over a medium heat until golden.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degC.
- Trim the top and bottom of the onions and peel.
- Cut the onions through the middle (not through the ends).
- Separate all the concentric rings of the onion halves and put on a baking tray.
- Drizzle with the olive oil, soy sauce, and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat evenly then spread out on the baking tray.
- Roast in the oven until starting to char, about 6 minutes, then turn over and roast for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and drain on paper towels.
- Boil the frozen peas in the chicken stock, dashi, mirin, and 10 g of the butter for 8 minutes.
- Sauté the onion in 10 g butter until soft.
- Add the garlic and grated ginger and sauté until fragrant.
- Strain the peas from the stock when cooked.
- Reduce the stock by 1/3.
- Add half of the peas, the stock, miso, onions, garlic, and ginger, and the yuzu kosho to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Strain through a sieve to get a good smooth puree.
- Add 1/2 cup of the remaining peas to the puree, keeping a few to drop on the top as a garnish.
- Add a serving of seared gnocchi to a plate.
- Ladle some miso pea and red onion mix over to the top of the gnocchi.
- Sprinkle on a few more peas.