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Herb Gnocchi Provencal

YIELD: 12 servings

3 lbs., 12 ozs. potatoes
15 ozs. flour
3 each egg yolks
6 ozs. chopped truffle (optional)
to taste white or dark truffle oil (or olive oil infused with truffle oil)
12 ozs. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
to taste salt and pepper
to taste fresh nutmeg
3 Tbsps. fresh basil, chopped
3 Tbsps. fresh parsley, chopped

3 each eggplants, diced
18 each vine-ripened tomatoes
3 each red onions, finely-chopped
6 each scallions, finely-chopped
3 each limes, juiced
3 Tbsps. sesame oil
3 dashes hot pepper sauce
3 Tbsps. fresh basil, finely-chopped
3 Tbsps. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
to taste sea salt and black pepper
6 ozs. Parmesan cheese
as needed fresh basil leaves, to garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 380°F. Scrub potatoes and bake for 11/4 hours, or until soft in the center when pierced with skewer. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes. Peel skin and mash or press potatoes through a potato ricer; cool.
  2. When potatoes are cooled, mix in flour, cheese, egg, seasonings and herbs to make a firm dough.
  3. Bring a pan of water to boil with a few drops of oil in it. Set a bowl of ice water to the side.
  4. Divide the dough into 24 equal balls, then roll into sausages approximately 30 cm. long; flatten very slightly, then cut rolls into 3 cm. lengths to form gnocchi.
  5. Cook the gnocchi in batches for a few minutes or until they rise to the surface of the water; lift out with slotted spoon, and place into the ice bath. Leave them in the ice bath for a few minutes, then remove and drain well on paper towels. When all gnocchi are cooked, toss in a bowl with a little olive oil; cover and chill until needed.
  6. FOR THE SALSA: Season eggplant with salt and a little sugar, then sautÈ in a hot pan with a little oil (do not over color). Blanch tomatoes in boiling water, then plunge them into the ice bath; remove skin and seeds and finely chop them; place in a bowl with other salsa ingredients and mix well. (This is best made ahead so the flavors mature.)
  7. To serve, place salsa on serving dish as a bed, then heat 2 Tbsps. of oil in a pan and sautÈ the gnocchi in batches for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towels and place on the salsa; sprinkle with grated Parmesan and finish with basil leaves.

Recipe from Executive Chef Chris Ivens-Brown, V.P. of Culinary Development, Compass Group North America, Charlotte, NC.

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