I love to make potato gnocchi, but to make them well I need to set aside a few hours so I can fully enjoy this meditative task. When the gnocchi craving hits me, I don’t always have the time to spare. So I was delighted to find an interesting recipe in La cucina nella tradizione ebraica for a potato dumpling often served at the Friday night Sabbath meal. A dough similar to that for potato gnocchi is made, but instead of forming it into individual small dumplings—a very time-consuming practice—the potato mixture is patted into a roll, wrapped in cheesecloth, and simmered in broth for an hour until firm. Then it is cooled, weighted, cut into cubes as needed, and reheated in broth. What could be better or easier? The potato mixture keeps for about 4 days in the refrigerator, but it should be removed from the cheesecloth when cold and stored in plastic wrap.
Place the potatoes in a saucepan with water to cover, bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well, place in a bowl, and mash with a potato masher. Add the eggs, bread crumbs, and
Shape the potato mixture into a cylinder
In a wide saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Carefully lower the wrapped potato mixture into the broth. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from the broth and let cool. Place on a shallow plate. Top with a second plate or tray, and then with a weight such as a brick. Refrigerate until all the liquid drains away, about 2 hours. Add any broth that is captured on the plate back to the soup pot.
Unwrap the potato “cake” and cut into small squares. Reheat them in the simmering broth at serving time. Ladle into shallow soup bowls and sprinkle with parsley.
© 1998 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.