Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jon's Got Skillz...With Crustaceans.

It seems like Jon comes home from work every day with a new skill.  His focus last week was on crustaceans, especially langoustines.  We don't really eat these in the States (at least not in Florida), but they are really good!  The easiest way I can describe them is as being a cross between a shrimp and a lobster.  Since he wanted to demonstrate his skillz to me, Jon cooked Saturday night's dinner with langoustines as the main ingredient.

The official name of the dish was "Pan-Seared Langoustines with Lemon Gnocchi and Sauce Bisque" (I know because I made Jon give it a name).  First he prepared the langoustines and started the bisque.

Then he made the dough for the gnocchi.  I didn't know that Jon even knew how to make the little balls of pasta-y goodness, but this is apparently another skill he's picked up lately.  He explained all about gnocchi to me, and then taught me how to make them.  It was so fun!  I think this would be a really simple, and entertaining thing to make with bigger kids.  But, we both decided that even little 'uns could help press the dough onto the fork.  I'll give the recipe below, but here are some pics to help demonstrate a few of the steps.

After making your dough, roll it out onto a floured surface and divide it into even pieces.

Take one of the pieces and press it onto the tines of a fork (it helps to flour those too).

Roll the dough back one roll and press hard into the fork (nice nail polish, no?)

Roll the half tube back one more time to make a complete pillow.  Easy!


As you can see, I was really concentrating on the job at hand.


Can you tell which ones are mine?  Me neither, they were that good. HAHAHAHAHA!

After prepping all the gnocchi, we had to wait for the bisque to finish up.  Once that happened, Jon cooked the gnocchi in butter and sauteed the langoustines.  The finished dish was delicious and different.  Tres bien, mon cheri!  

"Pan-Seared Langoustines with Lemon Gnocchi and Sauce Bisque"

Jon's Easy Gnocchi

Ingredients (all amounts are approximate)

  • Mashed potatoes (aprox 2.5 lbs)... we have no means of mashing potatoes, so Jon bought refrigerated pre-made (I know, I know), BUT-- they worked really well and made the dish easy!
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of 1 lemon OR Bruniose of 1/2 a lemon (this is a tiny, tiny dice)
  • Salt to taste
  • Grated nutmeg, to taste

    Making the Gnocchi

  • Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.
  • On a floured surface, knead the mixture until a firm dough forms.
  • Roll the dough out a bit at a time into a tube shape and then cut it into mini-Tootsie Roll-sized pieces. 
  • Press each piece onto a floured fork and roll up (see photos).  Voila- you have a little gnocchi.  I will say that it does take a bit of practice.  My first few looked more like balls of misshapen Silly Putty, but I got it down after a while.
   Cooking the Gnocchi
  • You probably will want to cook the gnocchi in two batches- they need room to wiggle in the pot.
  • Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil.
  • Drop in the gnocchi and cook until they float.
  • Remove from water and drain in a colander for 2 mins.
  • Gently sautee them in a pan of foaming butter (the stage just before it turns brown) until reheated, aprox 1-2 mins.
  • Dig in!
Jon mentioned that gnocchi would be a good dish for a dinner party, because you can make them ahead of time: Instead of draining the boiled gnocchi in a colander, drop them straight into an ice bath.  Drain and lightly coat with a neutral oil, like veggie or grapeseed.  Then line them up on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and stick them in the fridge until you're ready to pan sautee them. 

The day after he made this dish, I picked up the latest copy of "Food and Wine" (I was looking for "Gourmet," but alas, there were no copies left in Paris-- moment of silence, please).  Imagine my excitement when I saw that there is a whole article on making gnocchi in the October edition of "F & W" (p. 166).  It also has two "superfast" sauces for serving over the little guys.  Looks like Jon's on the cutting edge of cuisine (or I'm just biased.  Both are possible).


  1. That thing looks like a ginormous crawfish! You guys are very fancy! Although, I do love that you used pre-mashed potatoes! That's about on my level. :)

  2. Awesome. I might just have to try this. With the pre-mashed potatoes it is something I may actually be able to pull off One Day When Mattie Gets Older.