My inspiration comes from too many sources. I love looking through pages of cookbooks, or through online recipe collections. Restaurant websites, though, are probably the most intriguing. Without actually going to the restaurant and having a dish I really have no clue what it is going to be like. Every day people take a risk when they order a meal off of a menu. You never really know what is going to come out of the kitchen. Thankfully most of the time the gamble pays off. I decided to start this blog as a way to document the food I made, but also to experience the challenge of interpreting food that is on a menu in my own way. Of course I want to try the real thing, but if I can’t for now I might as well try to make it.
Today I interpreted a dish off of Gramercy Tavern’s Tavern menu, “Ruby Red Shrimp, Ricotta Gnocchi, Nettle and Pistachio”. Gramercy Tavern opened in 1994 and ever since has been providing tavern cuisine with a contemporary twist for those hungry on East 20th street. Executive chef Michael Anthony joined the kitchen in fall 2006 after being the executive chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Last summer I had perhaps the best dinner of my life at that restaurant. I was kind of speechless during the whole thing and dish after dish of fresh and perfect plates came soaring out of the kitchen. If a similar philosophy has come to Gramercy Tavern, I must go as soon as possible. But for now, I must make my own versions with my own local produce.
I decided to make a recipe that is a mixture of different recipes I have collected. I used a recipe out of one of my favorite cookbooks, “Sunday Suppers at Lucques”, for the ricotta gnocchi. The recipe further calls for a mushroom and corn brown butter that I decided to include bits and parts of. I am leaving out the nettles, because let’s be honest, who has those in their kitchen? Instead, we will put some lovely spring onion into the mushroom and corn mixture. For the pistachio I decided it would be nice to cook the shrimp in a pistachio cream sauce. I got inspiration from a recipe provided by Ruby Ordubegian from Foodnetwork.com. In all this is, pistachio sautéed shrimp over gnocchi with corn and mushroom medley. The gnocchi is very easy to make and takes way better freshly made than anything I have ever bought store bought. The shrimp taste so great in the creamy sauce and with fresh mushrooms and corn the medley soaks up the flavor of the sauce and works well with the gnocchi.
Pistachio Sautéed Shrimp over Gnocchi with Corn and Mushroom Medley
For the Ricotta Gnocchi [Slightly Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques]
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 pound whole milk ricotta, drained if wet
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the Corn and Mushroom Medley [Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques]
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 2 cups mushrooms, cleaned
- 2 ears of corn, cut off the ear into kernels
- ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
- Kosher salt ad fresh ground black pepper
For the Shrimp and Pistachio Sauce [Adapted from Rudy Ordubegian, Spazio Restaurant and Jazz Club]
- 1 pound of uncooked and cleaned large shrimp
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup cream
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pistachios, chopped
- Start by preparing the gnocchi. Place 2 cups of flour and the ricotta in a large mixing bowl. Using a dinner knife cut the ricotta into the flour. When both are combined, make a well in the center for the eggs. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and then pour into the well. Use a fork to incorporate the eggs into the flour and ricotta mixture. Gently shape the dough into a ball, and place it on a lightly floured cutting board. Cut the ball into four pieces and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
- Start the corn and mushroom medley. In a saute pan combine two tablespoons of olive oil with one tablespoon of butter. After the butter has melted, add the spring onions. Cook until the onions are darker in color and absorb the butter and oil. Then add the mushrooms and cook for around six minutes. Add the corn and the tarragon cooking for around three minutes. Finish off with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Continue making the gnocchi. One by one take each piece of gnocchi dough and cut it in half. Roll the dough into a 3/4 inch thick rope on a lightly floured cutting board. You want to make sure the dough is not too sticky, but too much flour will be allow for easy rolling. Cut the ropes into one inch pieces and sprinkle flour over them. Using a fork, tap each piece to put a decorative ridge on them.
- Put the gnocchi into the boiling water in batches. Once they rise to the surface, cook them for one minute more. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a platter. Drizzle of olive oil and let sit.
- To start the pistachio sauce bring one cup of chicken broth and the two tablespoons of butter to a simmer. Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Place the shrimp in the pan. Once the shrimp start to turn pinkish in color add the cream, mustard, lemon juice and pistachios. Continue to cook until the shrimp are completely pink in color.
- To serve place a couple ricotta gnocchi into a bowl. Top with the corn and mushroom medley and some shrimp. Pour the pistachio sauce on top and enjoy.