The culinary world is filled with countless chef’s, personalities, and experts. I look up to a lot of them. And the ones I look up to the most all have something in common. They are good teachers. Not necessarily in the sense that they teach classes or at a school, but they have the innate urge to teach their craft.
I refer to Alton Brown a lot because he is the one who first sparked my interest in food. He approaches food as a science and helps me understand all of the inner workings of why food works. But when it comes to the actual cooking of the food, Thomas Keller is one of the people I admire most. I read a lot from him and watch videos of him teaching and talking about food. Of course I don’t actually know him, but he seems humble. A man with 3 Michelin Stars simultaneously at two restaurants presents himself as humble and as someone who loves to teach his craft. I think that is fantastic.
I was turned on to parisienne gnocchi at school recently. We were making them for dinner service as an accompaniment to ratatouille, and I instantly saw all the possibilities. But let’s back up for a moment. What is the difference between italian gnocchi and parisienne gnocchi, you ask? Well, parisienne gnocchi is made from pate a choux! There is no potato or ricotta involved. Just that simple pate a choux batter I’ve been obsessing over the past few weeks.
I started researching various applications for parisienne gnocchi recently, and I found this video of Thomas Keller preparing his batter and then a video of him preparing a dish with the gnocchi. He takes so much care with these simple ingredients and makes preparing this amazing dish look so incredibly easy.
If you remember from my first post in the pate a choux series, the basic pastry dough involves only water, butter, flour, and eggs. So to make my gnocchi batter, I replaced the water with chicken stock, added some salt and some rosemary and thyme. So much more simple than italian gnocchi and just as delicious!
You start by blanching the gnocchi in water that is just simmering. Squeeze the gnocchi out of a pastry bag and cut off about 1″ lengths into the pot. They are done cooking as soon as the float. This takes no time at all really. Less than a minute. Blanch them in batches and remove from the water with a slotted spoon and allow to cool and drain on paper towels or in a colander.
At this point you can use the gnocchi immediately or freeze them. I did both. A batch of pate a choux makes a little over a pound of gnocchi. You could cut the batch in half, but I say go ahead and make a full one and freeze what you don’t use to have on hand whenever you are craving some!
I was inspired by Keller and his cooking technique with the gnocchi, so I wanted to do my take on it. My cast of characters: bacon, garlic, shallots, brussels sprouts, chicken stock, a little lemon juice, and butter!
After the gnocchis got a little color on them, the garlic and shallots joined the party followed by the brussels sprouts. This dish comes together so incredibly quickly.
Salt and pepper everything (of course) and then add a little chicken stock once the brussels sprouts are softened. A squeeze of lemon, a swirl of raw butter, and viola! You’re done. This is one of those dishes that I dream about. That I want at all hours of the day. I could definitely eat this for breakfast. Add a poached egg on top? Forget about it. Even my husband who doesn’t like brussels sprouts or bacon (i know) was gobbling this up.
I think that will conclude the Pate a Choux and All it Can Do Series! What did you think? If you liked it, I would like to do a few more series posts in the future. Any ideas of what you’d like to see? Or did you hate it. You won’t hurt my feelings. Either way, we’ll go back to some regular posting for a while.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Pate a Choux and All it Can Do series here:
How to Make Basic Pate a Choux
Eclairs with Espresso Glaze and Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Sharp Cheddar and Thyme Cheese Puffs (Gougère)
Classic Cream Puffs
Adapted from Thomas Keller and Bouchon's Parisienne Gnocchi
- 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade or low-sodium (8 oz, 236.6 mL)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces (1/2 cup, 4 oz, 113 grams)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour (5.6 oz, 159 grams)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 TBSP finely chopped thyme
- 1 TBSP finely chopped rosemary
- Place chicken stock, butter, and salt in a sauce pot over medium high heat. Stir until butter is melted and everything comes to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add flour into the mixture all at once while stirring quickly. Continue to stir and cook off the moisture in the dough until it pulls away from the sides and starts to form into a ball. This should take about a minute.
- Place dough into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl if using a hand mixer. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- With the mixer on medium-low speed, add eggs in one at a time. Do not add another egg until the one before has been completely absorbed into the batter. The batter will look smooth and glossy when ready. (Alternatively, you can mix in the eggs by hand. This just takes a bit longer. Mix each egg until completely absorbed before adding the next).
- Mix in the rosemary and thyme.
- Place mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip OR into a zip top bag with the tip cut off. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Place a medium sauce pan with salted water over medium heat to come to a simmer while preparing the dough.
- Squeeze the pastry bag over the simmering water and cut off about 1" lengths with a sharp knife into the water. Cook in batches and remove gnocchi from the water once they float. Let drain in a colander or on paper towels.
- Use immediately or freeze. To freeze, lay the gnocchi on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to freeze. Once frozen, place in a zip top bag until ready to use.
Adapted from Thomas Keller's Parisienne Gnocchi
- 3 strips bacon, cut into strips or lardons
- 8 oz parisienne herb gnocchi
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup shredded brussels sprouts
- salt and pepper
- 4 oz chicken stock
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 oz (2 TBSP) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the bacon to desired doneness and remove from the pan keeping the grease in the skillet.
- Add the gnocchi to the hot skillet and gently begin to cook. Allow the gnocchi to get a little color before tossing. As soon as the gnocchi are starting to get a little color, add the shallot and garlic.
- Add the brussels sprouts to the skillet and cook until just tender and a little chared. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add chicken stock to the pan and allow to cook and reduce for about 2 minutes.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the skillet and add the butter off the heat allowing to melt and swirl in. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.