1. Bring large pot of salted water to the boil.
2. Drain cottage cheese through a muslin cloth, hang for at least an hour or preferably overnight to remove the excess moisture.
3. Remove cheese from muslin cloth and place into a metal bowl.
4. Season with a touch of salt and pepper and add the lemon juice and zest
5. Add the egg yolk and mix gently
6. Add the flour and mix till combined. (Depending on how wet your mix is, you may need to use a touch more flour. But don’t overdo it as you want light, fluffy little pillows of gnocchi!)
7. Once mixed, drop tablespoon sized rounds of the mix into the water and cook. (Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Rather cook them in two or three batches.)
8. You will know they’re done when they rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon, gently place on an oiled tray or plate and set aside for later.
9. Place lemon juice into a pan and season.
10. Heat gently but don’t reduce the liquid
11. Transfer the juice to a jug and whisk using a hand blender
12. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the juice to start emulsifying
13. When it’s silky smooth and a pale yellow colour it’s ready. Set aside for later.
14. Heat oil in a medium non stock pan
15. Sauté gnocchi in warm pan until golden in colour
16. Add sprigs of fresh thyme for flavour
17. When golden on all sides, remove and drain on paper towel
18. To serve, refresh the gnocchi in a pan with a little oil
TIP: Make sure your fish fillets are as dry as possible and at room temperature when cooking
19. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
20. Heat a bit of oil in a pan
21. Season fish fillets on both sides with sea salt
22. Sear on both sides for +- 2 mins till a nice colour is achieved, but don’t cook all the way through
23. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season with a touch of salt
24. When ready to serve, heat the yellowtail in the bottom of the oven, together with the remaining lemon halves for about 5 minutes
25. Wilt the spinach in a pot with a little butter. Remove and drain.
26. Place 4 or 5 sautéed gnocchi onto plate
27. Add a spoonful of spinach alongside the gnocchi
28. Gently place the fish on top
29. Garnish with baby rocket cress, dress with lemon emulsion and serve
Private Chef is the reality cooking series that provides a glimpse into the secret, day-today life of a private chef in South Africa. Catch a double-bill every Thursday from 20:00 to 21:00 on DSTV's The Food Network (channel 175)