Crispy Celeriac Gnocchi with Oyster Mushrooms
The last few days we have opened up the windows, let the crisp spring air into the house, listening to the birds sing, welcoming in the beginning of spring. This time of year I long to be in the woods, seeing what is poking its green tips out of the ground, what animals are stirring, and hypothesize which trees with produce mushrooms this year.
Last spring and early summer was the first time my parents and I started foraging for mushrooms. It was something we stumbled into and realized the incredible joy of mushroom hunting, and became a serious hobby for my parents ever since. The day we discovered our first edible mushrooms we were walking through a section of the woods where my dad was working on cutting up a freshly fallen tree. As we drew closer to the logs my mom suddenly gasped - “look!” Covering these logs were beautiful yellow oyster mushrooms. In our excitement we harvested 8 pounds worth. Once inside we quickly realized there was no way we could eat them all, and called a local restaurant who was serving oyster mushroom topped burgers to see if they would like any. We sold them 4 pounds worth. It was so rewarding to share our foraged harvest. We did enjoy meals the rest of the weekend filled with delicious oyster mushrooms.
The rest of the summer, anytime it rained and the next day was hot and humid, my parents harvested these beautiful mushrooms. It turns out they freeze really well after being sautéd in butter, and make for a delicious foraged treat all year round.
Spring also reminds me that I need to finish the stored up harvests from last season. Our fridge still has a beets and celeriac waiting to be enjoyed. I kept one little celeriac, wanting to create something really special. Celeriac has a light and sweet celery flavor, with a potato like texture. When added to mashed potatoes it adds a buttery rich flavor, perfectly balancing the potatoes.
With celeriac reminding me so much of a potato, I decided to try creating pillowy soft gnocchi from this knobby root. The result was delicious - the gnocchi held the light celery flavor of the celeriac while keeping the light and fluffy consistency of traditional gnocchi. It actually created an even lighter pasta, making a dish that is perfect for spring.
To finish the pasta, I wanted something that would balance the sweetness of the celeriac, bringing meatiness and earthiness to the dish. This is where the oyster mushrooms come in. The two marry together beautifully, balancing the flavors of this dish. I love that this meal combines foraged and grown, connecting the two passions of mine I cannot wait to start again this spring. The baby celeriac for this season are already sprouting indoors, and I am longing for a trip to the woods to check on our favorite mushroom spot.
Crispy Celeriac Gnocchi with Oyster Mushrooms
4 generous servings
1 1/2 lb. Celeriac, cut into large chunks
2 tbs. Butter
1 c. Finely grated Asiago cheese
200g. Semolina flour
200g. All purpose flour
All purpose flour for dusting
Finishing the dish
8 oz. oyster mushrooms, sliced
4 Tbs. butter, divided
1 Large garlic clove, minced
2 Large handfuls spinach
Salt and pepper
Place celeriac pieces in one layer in a large pot, and just cover with water.
Bring to a boil, cover and cook until fork tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Strain celeriac and blend in blender with 2 Tbs. butter until completely smooth.
Scrape celeriac mixture into a large mixing bowl, and let cool.
Mix in cheese until completely incorporated, then the egg.
Add half the flour, stir together, then add the second half.
Dump onto a lightly floured surface, kneading into a soft dough, 3-5 minutes. Dough will be sticky - keep adding flour to your hands and counter to keep from sticking. Shape into a ball, dust with flour and cover with a tea towel. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
While the dough is resting, bring 4 quarts of water with 2 Tbs. salt to a boil.
Create a 14” log, cut into 10 pieces.
Roll each piece to 12 inches and cut into 10-12 square pieces with a metal bench scraper.
Once the water is boiling, use the metal bench scraper and scoop up a pile of gnocchi and drop into the boil water. Repeat until you have dropped in a third of the dumplings, boiling on med-high for 2 minutes until the dumpling float. Scoup out a ladle full of cooking water into a large glass bowl. Use a slotted spoon to scoup all the dumplings out into the glass bowl. The pasta water will keep them warm and keep them from sticking together. Repeat with the other two thirds of the gnocchi, cooking in two additional batches.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt 2 Tbs. butter, sauté mushrooms until the juices have been cooked off and they are golden and crisp in places, 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan.
Reheat nonstick skillet over medium heat and melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 10 seconds.
Strain the gnocchi and add to the pan, stirring to coat in butter and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook without stirring for 4 minutes.
After 4 minutes, flip over and cook the other side, add the spinach leaves and cook for 2 minutes more until spinach is wilted.
Remove from heat and add the mushrooms. Stir together and serve with finely grated Asiago cheese.