- 2 large waxy baking potatoes
- 1 egg
- 100g organic white spelt flour
- 25g fine organic semolina
- 200ml very good olive oil
- 500g spring greens, or new kale, or a mixture
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- Chilli flakes
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 100g mature Montgomery’s cheddar
Heat the oven to 180C. Scrub your spuds and pop them in the oven to bake. Once tender, allow to cool enough for some tentative handling. Cut in half and scoop out the innards, saving the skins for another time. Push the hot potato flesh through a sieve so you have a very fine, smooth paste. Beat an egg into the potato and enough of the flour to make the mixture just about dry enough to handle.
Divide the mix into 6 equal pieces and roll out on a lightly floured surface to form sausage-shapes the thickness of a thumb. Using a table knife, slice these into 2cm pieces. Now, roll each piece over the back of a fork, to create a divot in the middle and some groovy ridges on the outside. Place the finished gnocchi on a surface lightly dusted with semolina.
Place a large pan of water on the stove, salt it well and bring to the boil. In another large cooking pot, place the olive oil over a moderate heat. Wash, trim and slice your spring greens, separating the tough stems and chopping them finely. Place the tough stems into the pan with the oil and add the garlic, some chilli and the fennel seeds. Cook the stems until tender, then add the rest of the greens. Season and cook until just tender. Drop the gnocchi into the water pot and cook on a rapid boil until they float. Gently lift them out with a slotted spoon and add them to the spring greens pan, turning off the heat.
Carefully dress the gnocchi in the greens, place the whole show on the table and serve with loads of grated cheese. And, if you are like me, more of the very good olive oil… and wine.
ALTERNATIVES Add a few good anchovies at the same time as the garlic. Use spinach or wild garlic instead of spring greens. Use bacon fat and cubes of bacon instead of olive oil. Replace the Montgomery’s with Old Winchester, parmigiano or pecorino.
Image: John Holdship