Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Arctic Char and Gnocchi with Creamed Greens

Idlywood, a cozy, Mediterranean wine bar nestled in an unassuming strip mall, was a favorite of ours when we lived in Northern Virginia. Partly for sentimental reasons, to be sure. It was here, while having a glass of wine at the tiny bar in the back of the restaurant, that we first discussed moving in together. We had been dating for eight months, and I was just twenty-two. It probably have felt quick to our parents, but it didn't feel  scary to me at all!

My favorite dish - an often appearing special, if I remember correctly - was salmon with pesto gnocchi. We haven't been back to Idlywood in years, so I can't vouch for the food now, but this dish has stuck with me. I tried to re-create it last week with more winter-y vegetables, and it was just as good as the original I remember so fondly.

Arctic Char and Gnocchi with Creamed Greens

You will need:

5-6 leaves of kale, washed and torn
1/2 cup cream
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving if you wish
One package potato gnocchi
1 tablespoon olive oil, or a combination of butter and oil
2 small fillets of Arctic Char or salmon
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, or a combination of butter and oil
Squeeze of lemon

In a sauce pan, add a splash of olive oil and heat at medium high. Add in sliced garlic and cook for one minute. Add torn kale leaves and toss to coat with oil. Cook for one minute more. Reduce heat to medium low and add in cream. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, until soft and completely wilted. Remove from heat. Once cool, add kale mixture to a food processor. Give it a few whooshes until it has the consistency of pesto. Return to the sauce pan and stir in grated Parmesan cheese, and more cream if it looks a bit dry.

In a large sauce pan or wok, heat a tablespoon of olive oil (or combination of butter and oil). When melted and hot, add the gnocchi. Toss them around every minute or so, until they are slightly golden and crisp on the outside. Add in the creamed kale, reduce heat to low and cover. The gnocchi will absorb the cream and finish cooking.

Heat a grill pan to medium high. Brush fish with a bit of oil, salt and pepper. Cook four minutes per side if they are an inch thick. These were slightly smaller, so I cooked them four minutes on one side, two on the other.

Plate gnocchi and place fish on top. Generously squeeze with lemon juice and enjoy!


  1. mmmm sounds great - will put this on the list for very soon!


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