So far, my favorite way to enjoy cockscombs has been with pasta. There’s just something about the soft texture of cockscombs that begs to be in a juicy ragu. When you throw a couple tasty mushrooms and some cured pork in the mix, it’s an excellent dish. I made some gnocchi here that are great, but it would be a shame if I didn’t at least suggest my favorite gnocchi recipe too, which is egg-less. See a recipe for my egg-free gnocchi here.
More or less, this is just a fun recipe inspired by the first dish I read about using cockscombs, which was in the book L’talier of Alain Ducasse.
Herb Gnocchi with Cockscombs and Red Chanterelles
This is a rich pasta, serve it with a salad of bitter greens. You could easily substitute braised gizzards for the combs, and yellowfoot chanterelles, trumpets, or small golden chanterelles for the reds. If nothing else, the gnocchi recipe by itself is solid too, but make darn sure to use a hand held ricer so the dough isn’t gluey.
Note also that the bacon is cooked separately and added at the end. Cooking the chanterelles in bacon fat, or with bacon would overpower them.
Serves 4 as a light entree
- 1 recipe herb gnocchi, cooked (follows)
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 6 ounces braised cockscombs (see recipe here)
- 3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 4 strips of bacon/4oz, sliced into 1/2 in pieces
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus 1 tbsp (optional)
- High quality parmesan cheese, to garnish
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 6 ounces red chanterelles, washed, cleaned and dried
- 1/4 cup shallots, diced 1/4 in
- Render the sliced bacon on medium heat until crisp. Reserve the bacon until needed, and reserve the bacon fat for another purpose, like cooking eggs or potatoes.
- In a large saute pan, heat the butter. When the butter is hot, add the red chanterelles and cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the shallots and cook two minutes more. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until nearly evaporated. Add the chicken stock, gnocchi and cockscombs to the pan and cook until the the sauce thickens slightly from the gnocchi. Stir in the bacon and butter if using, heat for a moment more, swirling the pan to emulsify the butter and lightly thicken the sauce, there should be a few tablespoons of sauce for each plate. Divide the gnocchi between 4 heated plates, garnish with the remaining sauce from the pan and the parmesan, then serve immediately.
Herbed Russet Potato Gnocchi
Yield: enough gnocchi to serve a dinner for 4 after dressing with a sauce and some other ingredients.
You can also steam the potatoes to cook them, which I prefer. If you steam them, make sure to adjust by adding a pinch of salt to the dough.
- 10 ounces russet potatoes
- 2 tbsp fresh, mixed soft herbs, like parsley, tarragon and chives
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 large egg yolk
- Kosher salt and pepper
Cook the potatoes in simmering, lightly salted water until just tender. Remove the hot potatoes and hold them in a dry towel in your off hand, then using a sharp paring knife, peel them and leave whole so they stay hot. When all the potatoes are peeled, rice them, then mix in the egg and herbs. Fold in the flour just to combine and allow the dough to rest for a 4-5 minutes under a towel.
Next, lightly flour a work surface. Remove cup portions of dough and roll them into logs 1in wide. Cut the dough into small dumplings at 1 in intervals, then roll them off of a gnocchi board onto a floured cookie sheet. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough. From here the gnocchi can made in advance, frozen and cooked directly from the freezer.
To pre cook the gnocchi for speedy execution, bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the gnocchi and cook until they float. When all the gnocchi have risen, cook another minute more. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and place on an oiled cookie sheet to cool. From here the gnocchi can be refrigerated until needed and simply tossed in a pan to reheat with a sauce.