TC Recipe: Grilled Salmon Over Potato Gnocchi, Buttered Leeks, Aged Balsamic

May 21 2012

By Sous Chef Benjamin Nadolny
Suggested Pairing: 2010 Pfeiffer Vineyard Pinot Noir
Serves 2

Grilled Salmon Over Potato Gnocchi, Buttered Leeks, Aged Balsamic

Our esteemed fisherman, Jacob Farrens, has been hauling in some of the most beautiful, fresh wild Chinook I’ve seen in years. It hits our cutting boards no more than 12 hours out of the water. The other day I was about to run out of salmon. I gave Jacob a call. He said, “Ben, I’m out at sea, but I’m turning the boat around. I’m on my way!” As a chef it is a rewarding experience knowing that your local suppliers will stop what they are doing and hustle to get fresh local food on the plates of our guests. We are all in this together, from the fields, the sea, the woods, the pasture, the kitchen, and the support of our guests. The salmon itself is really tasty when it shared the palate with this Pinot Noir. However, when put over unctuous gnocchi, and sweet, rich buttery leeks it goes from tasty to downright pleasurable.


  • 2 6-oz salmon fillets, wild Chinook preferred
  • 2 T cooking oil blend
  • 1 leek, large
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 oz aged balsamic vinegar
  • black pepper, fresh cracked
  • kosher salt

  • 1 lb Yukon potatoes
  • 1 whole medium egg
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 150 g flour, sifted


Put the potatoes, skin on, into a pot of cold salted water. Bring to a slow boil and reduce the heat. When the potatoes are knife tender remove them from the water.

Remove the skin from the potatoes, using a towel so you don’t burn yourself. Put the potatoes through a ricer into a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and egg to the potatoes and fold the mixture together. Add the sifted flour and salt.

Use a rubber spatula to begin the mixing, but move to using your hands once the ingredients are incorporated. As you mix, the gnocchi should form pliable dough. The dough should still be warm at this point.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Also make an ice bath to cool down the gnocchi once they are cooked. As the water is coming to a boil begin to make the gnocchi. Take pieces of the dough and roll into long worms on a surface lightly dusted with flour. Cut the worms down into ¾ inch pieces.

In small batches place the gnocchi into the slow boiling water. When the gnocchi floats, count to 20 and then remove from the water and place into the ice bath.

When all the gnocchi is done, strain from the ice bath and lay out on a sheet pan to dry. At this point you may oil the gnocchi and store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

To reheat the gnocchi put in a sauté pan with a little bit of butter or oil and just a touch of water.

Remove the green part of the leek and keep the whiter part. Take a knife and starting at the top cut the white leek down the middle lengthwise without cutting all the way to the bottom. Wash the leek by running cool water through it to remove dirt and seed. Cut the leek into large dice.

In a stainless pot melt the butter. Add the thyme, leeks, and a pinch of salt and pepper. As the leeks begin to simmer in the butter add a tablespoon of water to prevent burning. Simmer the leeks until they are tender.

Salmon and Plating
In a stainless pot add the gnocchi, buttered leeks, shaved parmesan, and the olive oil. Add a tablespoon of water and put over low heat to warm up.

Begin chargrilling the salmon. Season and brush with a small amount of oil. In case no grill is available get a sauté pan hot and add the cooking oil. Season the salmon on all sides with salt and pepper. Sear all sides of the salmon.

Plate the gnocchi mixture, top with the salmon, and drizzle balsamic over the whole dish. Enjoy.