Chef Ethan Oh’s Tenderhill Gnocchi
A Pillowy Potato Dumpling for All Seasons
By Lee Wolfe and Chef Ethan Oh of Tenderhill ● Photography by Lauren Kearns
“Tenderhill is a restaurant driven by the seasons. We respect the ingredients we use and are passionate about creating dishes that are in harmony with nature,” said Chef/Owner Ethan Oh. The menu at Tenderhill offers something unique yet keeps things approachable by taking modern day comfort foods and putting a little spin on them. One of my favorites is the first dish I tried at Tenderhill and instantly fell in love with, Chef Oh’s gnocchi, which he serves with varying ingredients depending on the season. We stopped by to watch him prepare a new gnocchi dish that will be added to the menu in early 2018, and asked him to share his basic gnocchi recipe with our readers.
Making gnocchi is deceptively simple. The pillowy potato dumplings I make here at Tenderhill require merely five ingredients. And like all things diced and cooked, there are no big secrets to making delicious gnocchi… just a few little secrets (which I share with you as “tips” below).
I use my gnocchi recipe as a foundation to creating a seasonal dish. Simply serve with a few roasted or grilled vegetables that are in your pantry and the dish becomes yours. Finish with a little olive oil and maybe a spoonful of ricotta to add a touch of decadence. At Tenderhill, I treat our gnocchi as a canvas and I paint it with the season. For instance, our current winter gnocchi iteration is bathed with a creamy ladle of butternut squash soup and served with roasted mushrooms, beets, cranberries and walnuts. It is a delightfully comforting dish that keeps the cold at bay. During the summer, I like to serve them with grilled summer vegetables like zucchini or corn and pair them with a little acidity like blistered cherry tomatoes to create a refreshing and satisfying meal. There really are no set rules so use this recipe as a jumping board to create your own Tenderhill at home. Be creative and let the season guide you.
Here’s what you’ll need for a serving for four…
3 medium size russet potatoes
3 egg yolks
160g (1 ¼ cups) flour
65g (5 tbsps.) butter
6g (1 tsp.) salt
large pot w/ lid
1. Bake the potatoes in your oven at the highest setting for 45 min or until done. The best way to check for doneness is by pricking the potato with a fork or a cake-tester. If your fork slides right in after piercing the skin, it is done.
2. While the potatoes are roasting, cube your butter onto a plate and set them by the oven to temper. Tip: Temper the butter to a spreadable-soft texture but do not allow the butter to melt. If the butter isn’t to the desired softness, take your bench scrape and scrape down on the butter until it softens. Taking this extra care ensures a silky, rich mouthfeel.
3. Start a large pot of water to boil and season with salt. Slice the potatoes in halves while they are still hot from the oven. Scoop the innards into your food mill and mill into a large bowl or a clean working surface. Tip: Do not wait for the potatoes to cool and work quickly. Doing so will allow the ingredients to mix together better and will keep you from overworking the dough.
4. Form a well with your milled potatoes and sift the flour on top. Add your butter, yolks and salt and gently mix everything together using your bench scrape to form a dough. Tip: Do not overwork the dough as doing so will activate the starches and gluten, making the gnocchi dense and gummy. Mix only until everything is well incorporated and no dry clumps of flour remain.
5. Very lightly dust your working surface and scoop off tennis ball sized pieces to roll into a rope. (If this is your first time, try starting with a smaller sized piece.) Cut into 1” sized pieces with your bench scrape and place onto a sheet tray or large plate. Refrigerate the gnocchi for 15 min or until they are firm. Tip: First shape the dough into a small log and roll with both hands starting from the center and gradually move your hands outward. Repeat the movement until a rope has formed.
6. Prepare a sheet tray or large plate by lightly drizzling the surface with olive oil. Blanch the gnocchi in the boiling water, scooping them out as soon as they float to the top and place them on the oiled tray. Cool them in a refrigerator and store in sealed containers after cooling. They will keep refrigerated for 3 days or can be kept frozen. To serve, sear the gnocchi on both sides in a hot pan to golden brown with a little olive oil or browned butter. Add your meat or vegetables and enjoy!
Tenderhill is located at 405 US-22, in Whitehouse Station, NJ. Visit tenderhill.com or call 908.823.0234