Nigel Slater’s recipe for crisp gnocchi and chopped salad

Hot, crisp garlic gnocchi, ice-cold cucumber, tomato and radishes.

Cook 500g of gnocchi in deep, generously salted boiling water until the dumplings float to the surface – a matter of 2 or 3 minutes. Drain the gnocchi, tip into a bowl and trickle with a little olive oil.

Peel, seed and dice 250g of cucumber, then put it in a bowl. Dice 400g of assorted tomatoes, then add them to the cucumber. Thinly slice 8 radishes and finely dice 4 spring onions or one of the larger salad onions. Finely chop a small handful of parsley leaves, then toss everything together and chill.

Peel and finely slice 2 cloves of garlic. In a shallow pan that doesn’t stick, heat 4 tbsp of olive oil. Add the garlic and the drained gnocchi, then cook over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes until they are golden and crisp. (Turning them occasionally, rather than continually will help them to form a good crisp crust.) The garlic should be a walnut brown in colour. Transfer the gnocchi to a serving dish, then add the diced tomatoes, radishes, onion and parsley, and toss gently together. Serves 2-3

To prevent the cooked gnocchi sticking together after draining, toss them in a bowl with a glug of olive oil. It will keep the dumplings separate.

The contrast between the gnocchi and the salad ingredients is essential here. The dumplings should be really crisp and hot, the chopped salad cold and fresh.

Should you want a dressing with this, a few glugs of olive oil should suffice, but you could try a mixture of olive oil, red wine vinegar, chopped basil and parsley – a simplified salsa verde. You could add a few capers or some chopped gherkins.