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The Caterer

Pan-fried tofu and gnocchi with English asparagus, by Richard Kearsley

25 May 2010
Pan-fried tofu and gnocchi with English asparagus, by Richard Kearsley

This vegetarian recipe was devised by Richard Kearsley, head chef at the Linthwaite House hotel, Windermere. For more on catering for vegetarians, see our feature, Is catering for vegetarians a hassle or an opportunity?

INGREDIENTS
(Serves four)

For the gnocchi

â- 130g plain flour
â- 80g finely grated vegetarian Parmesan (see panel above)
â- ½ beaten egg
â- Salt and pepper

For the carrot purée

â- 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped small
â- 50g butter
â- 5g sugar
â- 5g salt

For the lemon dressing (enough for at least 16 portions - can be kept in fridge for other uses)

â- 250ml lemon oil
â- 250ml groundnut oil
â- 200ml white wine vinegar
â- 2tsp salt
â- 1tsp pepper
â- 1 clove of garlic and 1 sprig of tarragon per bottle

To assemble the dish â- 12 spears English asparagus, trimmed and blanched in boiling salted water and refreshed
â- 12 pieces of baby carrots, blanched and refreshed
â- 80g per person of plain tofu, cut into 3 rounds
â- A mixture of baby pak choi leaf, celery cress and curly endive
â- 20g peeled broad beans
â- 40ml oil
â- 30g butter

METHOD To make the gnocchi, mix all ingredients together, adding the beaten egg last. Check the level of seasoning by poaching off a little of the gnocchi. Lay two strips of clingfilm about 50cm wide on top of each other. Lightly oil the clingfilm.

Take some of the gnocchi mixture and roll on to the clingfilm until you have a cylinder the diameter of a 50p piece. Tie both ends. Repeat this process until you have used all the mixture. Chill and then cut into lozenges about 2cm thick.

Poach the gnocchi in a pan of water for 20 minutes, and allow to cool in a container of ice water.

For the carrot purée, place the carrots in a pan and just cover with water. Add the butter, salt and sugar. Cook the carrots until soft and the water has reduced by half. Place in a blender and blend until smooth, then check the seasoning.

To finish, pan-fry the gnocchi and tofu in a little oil, until golden-brown. Finish with a little butter. Heat up the asparagus, baby carrots and broad beans in a pan of water with a touch of butter and salt.

Gently heat the carrot purée and, using the back of a spoon, swipe on to the plate. Arrange the gnocchi at three points with the tofu lying at an angle on top.

Arrange the asparagus, carrots and broad beans around the plate at different angles, placing the salad leafs on top. Drizzle the lemon dressing around the plate.

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