In the process of cooking and assembling ingredients you must continue to ask a very important question. "Is what I am making better than the original?" Sure, you can say that what is being made is original and try and dodge the question. Do not bother or you will begin to waste your time. In some cases, the form of an ingredient becomes integral in its taste and aesthetic. Still, the question must be asked. Similarly, the form or means of delivering an ingredient can be the means for making an ingredient or dish better.
We have only been back in our kitchen for several weeks and I have been continuously challenged by this question. In fact, it can become a stumbling block and that is not the point of bringing it to the foreground. Rather, it essential in making better food.
It has become apparent that I have a gnocchi fetish. One reason for my intrigue is its small size, delicate texture and a means for flavor delivery. With those three basic guiding points I have been challenged to work with gnocchi in a variety of flavors. Yesterday we made avocado gnocchi. While preparing the base, I had that daunting question resounding through my thoughts. "Is it better than the original." Well, what original am I considering? With regards to gnocchi, I am working on a full flavored delicate dumpling which captures the essence of avocado in a miniature form. In the preparation of the avocado, I am able to present bite sized fully seasoned pieces of an ingredient which will not break down in a ragout.
As I worked with the ingredients I worked through a trial dish featuring the avocado gnocchi. It is a simple oyster stew with ramps, bacon, the gnocchi and a smoked potato bread crisp.