Parisienne gnocchi are lovely little morsels made with pâte à choux rather than potato, which star in the more familiar Italian version. Marcelle Crooks, Chef de Cuisine at the intimate and eclectic Little Bird Bistro, uses the former in her Tarragon Goat Cheese Gnocchi.
These light, melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi are tossed in a rich, tangy goat-cheese sauce with tarragon and Banyuls cream, and golden beets. Crooks approached this dish with the objective of a delicate balance of flavor, factoring in each ingredient’s contribution to the profile.
“Goat cheese can be very rich and naturally tangy. To emphasize the tug of war between richness and acidity, we start with an herbal tarragon and Banyuls cream,” she says. “Golden beets provide a subtle sweet note in addition to anchoring the rich flavors with a note of earthiness.”
The dish isn’t complete without thoughtful touches of texture and bright punches of flavor. “Toothsome beets and pillowy gnocchi are all well and good, but every dish should have a little crunch,” says Crooks. “I added garlic-lemon pistachios for texture, and the lemon also helps to harmonize the acidic and rich flavors. To hit all the receptors, I cure and smoke egg yolks to shave over top.”
Fresh mint and tarragon complete the flavor-forward profile. The dish certainly could support a protein component, she says, “but these gnocchi are a crowd-pleaser on their own.”