From Scott Ekstrom, Forty Four, NY
This week’s recipe is from Scott Ekstrom, Executive Chef of Forty Four, at the Royalton Hotel in midtown Manhattan. The hotel is part of the Morgans Hotel Group, which includes hot spot hotels like the Ames in Boston, the Sanderson in London, the Mondrians in both New York and Los Angeles and the Delano in South Beach.
This recipe calls for a Banyuls vinegar, a vinegar made from a fortified wine from a region in the South of France that borders Spain. It is a gastronomic treat, having been aged in barrels for 5 years and has a mellow flavor, but if you can't find it you can use red wine vinegar instead, or a good balsamic or sherry vinegar. Banyuls can be purchased at gourmet retailers, or online.
About the chef: Working in kitchens since age 14, Scott Ekstrom, who grew up in the seaside town of Lavallette, New Jersey, found his first real taste for fine dining and food when he entered The Restaurant School of Philadelphia. While there, he worked under the tutelage of Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix in The Fountain Restaurant at The Four Seasons, his first introduction to classical French cuisine. In 1997, Ekstrom went to work for Georges Perrier, of Le Bec Fin and Brasserie Perrier, where he learned technical French cooking and the art of simplicity.
Looking to broaden his horizons, in 1999, Ekstrom went to work at New York City restaurant Daniel, under world renowned Chef Daniel Boulud. He went on to join Oceana as Sous Chef in the spring of 2003 and was later promoted to Chef de Cuisine.
Ekstrom's personal philosophy to bring "a respect for tradition and quality to the kitchen with an unwavering commitment to please" can be seen throughout his culinary creations.
In his spare time, he enjoys exploring the culinary traditions of Europe, especially southwest France, as well as being a sculptor and painter.
At The Royalton
44 West 44th Street
NY, NY, 10036
Pan roasted gnocchi with caramelized white asparagus, oyster mushrooms, and brown butter vinaigrette is served at Forty Four for $20.
This recipe makes six to eight restaurant servings.
Pan Roasted Gnocchi with Caramelized White Asparagus, Oyster Mushrooms and Brown Butter Vinaigrette Ingredients:
For the Gnocchi:
3.5 Pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 Cup all purpose flour
½ Cup semolina flour
½ Tsp mace
½ Tbsp salt
4 Egg yolks
For the Garnish:
12 Stalks white asparagus, peeled and cut into 2 ½ in. pieces
½ Pound oyster mushrooms
2 Shallots, chopped
½ Tbsp picked thyme leaves
2 oz Whole butter
3 Sage leaves, chopped
3 oz Parmesan cheese, shaved
For the Sauce:
1 Stick whole butter
Banyuls vinegar to taste
1 Cup dried black currants
1 ½ Cups white cranberry juice
Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Gnocchi:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Salt the bottom of a sheet pan, and roast potatoes for about 1hr or until soft.
Using a rice mill, rice potatoes into a large pot.
When finished, add to a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and let cool.
Add a hand full of the flour on the table and place the potatoes on top of the flour with a hole in the middle, then add the egg yolks in the middle.
Add the rest of the flour, mace, and salt and fold together until dough feels silky.
Keeping your work surface and the dough lightly floured, flatten dough slightly and cut into long strips.
Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces.
Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Garnish:
In a hot sauté pan, add a little oil and cook the asparagus.
When the asparagus begins to brown, turn the heat to medium and add a knob of butter to gently pan roast.
Add mushrooms and when they begin to start browning, add the butter then the shallots and thyme.
Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Sauce:
Add butter to saucepan and place over medium low heat.
When butter has melted, slowly whisk repeatedly for up to 10 minutes. This will ensure the milk solids do not scorch the bottom of pan and brown evenly, giving you Beurre Noisette, which is the base for the vinaigrette.
Add the Banyuls vinegar.
Re-hydrate the currants by adding them to the cranberry juice, and puree making a coulis. (Note: this can be done ahead of time and can be kept refrigerated until ready to use.)
Add the currant coulis to the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.
Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for Assembly:
In boiling water, blanch the gnocchi until cooked (about 1 ½ minutes).
Dry off gnocchi and place into a preheated pan with a touch of oil (a non stick sauté pan works best).
In a separate pan, heat the asparagus and the mushrooms and add sage.
Warm the vinaigrette and set aside.
Place the gnocchi in large warm bowl, garnish with the asparagus and mushrooms and spoon with warm vinaigrette.
Garnish with shaved parmesan.