As I’ve mentioned, Bacon-Miso Sauce was the first menu element I personally developed for Le Bernardin. We often served it with Japanese sweet potatoes, since I loved the sweetness and tenderness of potato paired with the salty and umami-filled sauce. Basically, it’s amazing with potatoes of any sort, of any color, and from any country. So if you don’t feel like making gnocchi, go on and roast up some sweet potato wedges to serve with this luscious sauce instead. Think of it as a fancy answer to french fries and ketchup!
SERVE 2 AS AN ENTRÉE OR 4 AS AN APPETIZER
2/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sweet potatoes)
1 large egg
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups (420g) all-purpose flour, plus up to 1 cup (120g) more as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Bacon-Miso Sauce (see below)
3 tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon, for garnish
2 teaspoons sliced chives, for garnish
1. Place the ricotta in a towel-lined colander set in the sink or over a bowl, and let sit for about 2 hours to remove excess liquid (if you don’t have time to drain, no worries, you may just need a little more flour).
2. Rinse the sweet potatoes, prick all over with a fork, and place in a microwave-safe container, uncovered. Microwave on high until completely tender when poked with a fork, at least 7 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
3. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and scrape the flesh into a food processor (discard the skins, or sprinkle them with salt and snack away). Purée the flesh until smooth, with no strings remaining, about 10 seconds, then scrape it into a large bowl.
4. Add the egg, ricotta, Parmesan, and salt, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Fold in the flour 1 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. The dough should be soft but not sticky, so add up to 1 cup flour in ¼-cup increments if needed.
5. Dust a baking sheet with flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 8 pieces. Take one piece at a time, pressing and rolling it with your palms into a long rope about ½ inch thick. Cut the rope into pieces about ½ inch long and place the cut gnocchi on the prepared baking sheet while you roll and cut the remaining dough.
6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. While the water comes to a boil, heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat, and have a large slotted spoon or handheld strainer basket ready to lift the gnocchi out of the water. When the water is boiling, carefully add the gnocchi to the pot and gently stir to make sure they are not sticking together. Add the oil to the sauté pan and swirl to coat.
7. When the gnocchi begin to float to the surface, in about 4 minutes, they are almost ready. Let them continue cooking for 10 seconds, then lift them out of the pot, shaking off the excess water. Carefully lower the boiled gnocchi into the sauté pan (the oil will splatter a little, so tilt the pan away from you as you add the gnocchi).
8. Shake and swirl the pan occasionally, and carefully toss the gnocchi to make sure they all make contact with the pan. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes with the occasional toss, until all of the gnocchi have spots of caramelization.
9. Pour the Bacon-Miso Sauce into the pan, toss to coat, and add a spoonful of cloudy pasta-cooking water. 10. Divide the gnocchi and sauce among serving bowls, garnish with crispy bacon and chives, and serve immediately.
SUNDAY BEST FINESSE
As an additional (but completely optional) step, roll each cut gnocco along the back of a fork to make indented lines, then return it to the flour-dusted sheet until ready to cook. Rolling the gnocchi on the fork will help the sauce adhere better but is a little time-consuming if you’re working solo. The gnocchi can also be frozen at this point. To freeze, place in the freezer in a single layer on a sheet tray (or in multiple layers in an airtight container, with parchment placed between the layers). When frozen, transfer the gnocchi to a freezer safe bag or airtight container, and freeze indefinitely.
As I’ve mentioned, mango gazpacho was the first full recipe of mine to make Le Bernardin’s menu. But this sauce was my first component.
If you haven’t already guessed it, I have a bit of a miso obsession. It sprang from one of my greatest lessons at the restaurant: that food doesn’t have borders. Just because a dish is French doesn’t mean it can’t be improved by ingredients from another country! In this sauce, I toast a bit of miso in the bottom of a pan—just like you might do with tomato paste—to create smoky undertones that are positively magical. The addition of bacon makes for a double punch of smoky umami.
MAKES 2 ½ CUPS
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or other neutral cooking oil
4 slices applewood-smoked bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 medium shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper (okay, black is fine)
¼ cup white miso paste
¼ cup white wine
2 teaspoons Hondashi granules
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Heat a medium pot over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. Put in the oil, then add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes.
2. When the bacon has rendered most of its fat and browned, use a slotted spoon to scoop out most of the crispy bacon bits (more than half) and transfer them to a small plate lined with a paper towel. Reserve this bacon for another use.
3. Add the shallots and garlic to the pot with the remaining bacon and fat. Stir in a bit of salt and a heavy pinch of pepper and cook over medium-low heat until the shallots and garlic are just softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Add the miso to the pan and stir it in well. It should start to make a paste with the fat. It will stick and make a thin coating on the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking, stirring and scraping frequently, until the miso begins to look toasted and a little browned in places, about 2 minutes.
5. Raise the heat to medium and pour in the wine to deglaze. Use a whisk to scrape up everything stuck to the pan and dissolve it into the liquid. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat and let it cook until it has reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Add 2 cups of water and the Hondashi (or 3 cups of stock or miso soup) and whisk again to fully incorporate the ingredients. Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to medium to simmer until reduced by about half, 8 to 10 minutes.
7. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean small pot and discard the solids (you can also use a slotted spoon to remove all of the solids from the sauce). Bring the sauce back to a simmer over medium heat and whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Let the sauce simmer for a few seconds after the last of the butter is whisked in.
Reprinted from Sunday Best. Copyright © 2022 Adrienne Cheatham with Sarah Zorn. Photographs copyright © 2022 Kelly Marshall. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
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