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Cook 500g of gnocchi in deep, generously salted boiling water until the dumplings float to the surface – a matter of 2 or 3 minutes. Drain the gnocchi, tip into a bowl and trickle with a little olive oil.
Peel, seed and dice 250g of cucumber, then put it in a bowl. Dice 400g of assorted tomatoes, then add them to the cucumber. Thinly slice 8 radishes and finely dice 4 spring onions or one of the larger salad onions. Finely chop a small handful of parsley leaves, then toss everything together and chill.
Peel and finely slice 2 cloves of garlic. In a shallow pan that doesn’t stick, heat 4 tbsp of olive oil. Add the garlic and the drained gnocchi, then cook over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes until they are golden and crisp. (Turning them occasionally, rather than continually will help them to form a good crisp crust.) The garlic should be a walnut brown in colour. Transfer the gnocchi to a serving dish, then add the diced tomatoes, radishes, onion and parsley, and toss gently together. Serves 2-3
The contrast between the gnocchi and the salad ingredients is essential here. The dumplings should be really crisp and hot, the chopped salad cold and fresh.
Should you want a dressing with this, a few glugs of olive oil should suffice, but you could try a mixture of olive oil, red wine vinegar, chopped basil and parsley – a simplified salsa verde. You could add a few capers or some chopped gherkins.