In this edition of Chef’s Crush, Cameron Emirali, co-owner of critics’ favourite, 10 Greek Street, shares his simple, rich gorgonzola gnocchi recipe.
The chef: Cameron Emirali, executive chef and co-owner of critics’ favourite, 10 Greek Street – an independent contemporary restaurant and wine bar in the heart of Soho.
The story: Cam was born in New Zealand but crossed the globe to refine his culinary talent. He started out at The Zetter Townhouse and Le Pont de la Tour in London, before spending six years as head chef of the Wapping Project, which fine-tuned his style of using fewer ingredients but always ensuring that they’re fresh and seasonal. He often draws inspiration from his frequent travels, drawing upon Anglo, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours.
The philosophy: 10 Greek Street has established a reputation for serving fresh, seasonal dishes that celebrate premium ingredients alongside an expertly curated wine list with interesting, low mark-up bottles. The unpretentious restaurant champions seasonality. The approach is old school and revolves around supplier deliveries and working with the freshest produce available.
For instance, fish is picked out the back of a van which drives to the restaurant straight from the coast, whilst Mark Jones (a Welsh farmer) calls the restaurant twice a week to discuss what’s available and what he recommends. From here, the team work together to create the menus which 10 Greek Street serves at lunch and dinner, meaning no day is ever the same in the kitchen.
The plan: ‘I plan to continue doing much of the same. Sunday lunch is a really fun focus at the moment, as we’ve never done it before and we like to have a couple of sharing options on the menu each week for guests to choose from. At the moment we’re championing game – for instance, venison, crushed potatoes, broccoli & red onion.
‘Elsewhere Luke Wilson (co-owner of 10 Greek Street) and I have also been working on an entirely different project, setting up Braybrooke Beer Co. We’ve refined every step of the process to create a brewery in a former grain drying store on a farm in Market Harborough, Leicestershire and our first product is Braybrooke Keller Lager, an unfiltered amber lager brewed using the best German malt and hops. It’s designed to be paired with food and we’re serving it by the bottle at 10 Greek Street!’
The can’t-live-without ingredient: ‘I absolutely can’t live without Capezzana Olive Oil, which is made in Tuscany. It’s a softer, fruiter oil compared to other varieties, as it’s made primarily from Moraiolo olives – an early ripening variety, so the olives tend to be blacker when picked. Other than that, Pata Negra (Spanish Serrano ham) is my other big vice!”
Easy way to impress: “I love nothing more than hosting a big dinner at mine or a Sunday lunch, and serving salt baked turbot from the middle of the table. All you need is a couple of bowls of various seasonal veg to accompany it and you’re sorted. The theatricality of cracking open the salt crust can’t be beaten, it keeps the fish moist and juicy – as well as being surprisingly easy to do. For an easy recipe you whisk four egg whites until stiff and then fold in a kilo of salt (as if it were a meringue). Once done, lay a 2.5 kilo fish onto a tray and coat the sides and top in this mixture before baking. This will easily serve 4-5 people.’
How to perk up your lunchbox: ‘An easy lunchbox trick is inspired by a dish on the menu at our café: The Whitechapel Refectory. A mainstay is a Spankopita which is really simple to make and a delicious, effective lunch.
‘You can buy filo pastry from any good supermarket, which should come already rolled out. All you then need to do is layer four sheets into a cake tin, brushing butter between each layer. Then stuff with whatever seasonal dark leafy green you have to hand – whether it be Swiss Chard or Spinach – grate in a little nutmeg and mix in crumbled feta. Once complete, bake at 160 degrees for about 40 minutes, before turning the oven up to 180 degrees for the last 10 minutes, to ensure it’s perfectly crisp and golden (be careful to check on it regularly). This makes for the ultimate lunch and is easy to eat on the go.’
Why we love Cam: He presides over the perfect neighbourhood restaurant (grab the window-seat if you can for fun people-watching). There’s a laid-back Soho vibe, and nothing predicable about the seasonal menu (no chance of the many regulars getting bored!) We loved our starter of fried anchovies – crispy, moreish fish, perfect with a squeeze of lemon and dipped in aioli – and all the dishes have an inspiring mix of flavours (chorizo and Jerusalem artichoke with our main of halibut worked wonderfully well) Brilliant (and affordable) wines-by-the-glass too..
Gnocchi with gorgonzola, walnuts and sage
FOR THE GNOCCHI
1kg Maris Piper potatoes
100g 00 flour – plus extra for dusting
3 egg yolks
30g grated parmesan
½ a grated nutmeg
FOR THE SIMPLE GORGONZOLA SAUCE
Pinch of pepper
Sage leaves (tossed in a frying pan of hot oil until darkened in colour and crispy)
roasted walnuts for sprinkling on top (roast in oven at 180 degrees for 4-5 minutes)
1. Cook potatoes in salted water until tender.
2. Put the potatoes on a baking tray & dry in an oven at 150ºC for 10 min.
3. Mash potatoes using a ricer.
4. Mix in nutmeg, parmesan & egg yolks.
5. Salt & pepper to taste.
6. Sift in flour & knead softly.
7. Roll out adding a little more flour if the dough is too wet.
8. Once rolled out into thin sausages, cut into 3cm little pillows.
9. Bring water to boil. Drop gnocchi in and once they float to surface, remove with a slotted spoon and place in bowl filled with ice water, to cool down.
FOR THE SIMPLE GORGONZOLA SAUCE
1. Boil cream and gorgonzola together in a saucepan.
2. Once you’ve achieved a nice consistency, add the gnocchi until warmed through.
3. Check seasoning.
4. Garnish with sage and walnuts.
Feature by Rosalind Lowe