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Chef & co-owner of Le Vin Papillon, Marc-Oliver Frappier, has created a menu favorite; squid ink gnocchi fritters with maple smoked sturgeon. The smokiness of the sturgeon pairs well with the brininess of the fritter and is fun to rip, stuff and share with lots of people!

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Transcript

- One of the things I learned in Italy about food culture there is really cooking locally. So using sturgeon from Quebec just made a lot of sense in the bon vivant Italian philosophy we have. I wanted to put the sturgeon on the menu here maybe in a way that people have seen it less. We thought of the idea of just the sturgeon cream and serving it with the gnocchi fritti. My name is Marc-Olivier Frappier. I am the chef and co-owner of Vin Papillon here in Montreal. I moved to Italy when I was 17 years old, it was really living there that inspired me to pursue a cooking career. The first time I had gnocchi fritti I was traveling in Italy and I actually had it in a town called Modena. It's classically served with very salty things, charcuterie like prosciutto, mortadella, capricola, all that stuff. I wanted to bring it back here and give it a bit of our flavors by serving it with smoked sturgeon. I just wanted to use fish that was local from here and a bit maybe unknown. Here at Vin Papillon every day we try to create a small party and the gnocchi fritti with sturgeon is perfect for that 'cause it shares really well, really reflects our mentality of using Quebec ingredients. And it reflects a bit the time that I spent in Italy. I love using sturgeon 'cause it's delicious and it's a quite meaty fish. The first thing we're gonna do is build the brine for our sturgeon. To a tub we add cold water. To the water we add salt, sugar, and brown sugar. We whisk it until everything is dissolved and then we add our aromatics, bay leaf, juniper, garlic, and black pepper. And then we mix everything together. Then we add the sturgeon to the brine for 12 hours or overnight to really get all those flavors inside the fresh sturgeon filets. After it's been brined for 12 hours we remove it from the brine and pat it dry. We brush it with maple syrup to really give it that flavor of a sweet, salty sturgeon ham. And we put it in the fridge to dry overnight. Once it's dry it's time to smoke with maple wood. We're gonna hot smoke it in the smoker. It's gonna cook for around four hours, depending on how strong your smoker is. You want the flesh to be just cooked, but not over cooked. Once it's smoked we take it off the smoker and let it cool. The gnocchi fritti we make is a traditional recipe but then we make it our own by adding squid ink. To the stand mixer we add flour, salt, yeast, baking soda, and pork fat. We add the pork fat 'cause it's traditional in the gnocchi fritti recipe to give it some porky flavor and some tenderness. Turn the mixer on low speed for about two minutes until everything is mixed up together. Then in separate container we mix together the water, milk, and squid ink. We mix it separately so the squid ink doesn't make any clumps and it's nice and smooth. To the dry ingredients we add the squid ink mixture and blend everything together for about 10 minutes. As it comes together you make sure that there's no flour on the sides of the bowl and you're really looking for a black, smooth ball of dough. Once the dough's come together you're going to remove it from the stand mixer, knead it a couple of times on the table until it forms a ball. Gonna take that ball, put it in a bowl, rest for about two hours until it doubles in size. Once it's risen I'm gonna punch it down, cut it so it fits in my pasta machine and then roll it down. Once it's rolled out I'm gonna fold it over and re-roll it and I fold it over because it really helps creating a structure that helps the gnocchi fritti to puff in the fryer. I'm gonna roll it out in the machine one last time until it's about half a centimeter thick. Now we're gonna start shaping the gnocchi fritti by trimming off the excess dough. We're gonna trim off all four sides and then cut them with the ravioli cutter into squares. We take the individual little squares and put them in the fryer. Once in the fryer for about five seconds they're gonna start floating again at that moment you're gonna ladle some hot oil on top to help them puff up. We're gonna remove them from the oil, put them on the brown paper to catch excess oil and to finish them we're going to season them with dry seaweed. It's one of my favorite dishes here 'cause it's easy to share, it's fun to eat, you really rip those gnocchi fritti apart and stuff the sturgeon cream inside. First thing we do is prep our sturgeon. We cut it into strip, then remove the skin, and then cut it into cubes. The only reason we cut it into cubes is to fit easier in the meat grinder attachment. We use a medium die 'cause we don't want it to be too fine, we still want a bit of bite to it. Once the sturgeon is ground we add it into a bowl and then we add creme fraiche, cream cheese, homemade mayonnaise and then shallots. We finish the sturgeon with lemon zest and black pepper. We're gonna mix all the ingredients together. You don't want to mix it too much so it turns into a paste, you wanna keep a few good chunks of sturgeon in there. We take the sturgeon mixture and form a quenelle, put the quenelle on the plate and then we finish it with more ground seaweed to add some saltiness. We place the gnocchi fritti around the sturgeon and here you have the smoked sturgeon with gnocchi fritti. The smoked sturgeon with gnocchi fritti is really a good balance between the smokiness of the sturgeon and the saltiness, the brininess of the gnocchi fritti. There's a lot of fun of just, like, ripping the gnocchi fritti in two and stuffing them with the sturgeon cream. The reason this is never gonna come off the menu, it's really the perfect dish for this restaurant in the sense that it's using the local Quebec sturgeon and serving with the gnocchi fritti, which is an influence of my time spent in Italy. It's really fun and easy to eat and to share with a lot of people.