The Washington Times - November 14, 2008, 11:53AM

by Chef Martin Pfefferkorn, Executive Chef, Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead

Cassis Restaurant is nestled at the foot of a graceful 30-foot waterfall that splash to a river waterscape. The sounds of the water give song to the three-story Japanese Zen Garden outside its doors.  This peaceful. intimate environment opens sensory doors that further highlight the boldness of Chef Pfefferkorn’s dishes.


This dish is one that will work with any grilled or smoked protein that can stand up to the deep flavor of the Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

Chef Martin Pfefferkorn’s Sweet Potato Gnocchi dish (Photo by Jacquie Kubin)

Steak Filet & Sweet Potato Gnocchi

• 2 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, patted dry
• 1 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hours 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
• 2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons salt
• 1/2  tsp ground nutmeg
• 2 1/2 cups (about) all purpose flour
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 1 Steak filet, grilled
• 2 Garlic cloves (minced)
• 1 Shallot (minced)
• 1/2 Cup heavy cream
• 1/2 Cup white wine
• 1/2 Cup basil


Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast at 350 for 1 hour.

Remove and discard the skin. Place the potatoes in a bowl and mash. Transfer 3 cups to large bowl. Add ricotta cheese; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto floured surface; divide into 6 equal pieces. Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. Cut each rope into 20 pieces.

Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent. Transfer to baking sheet.

Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until they float. 4 or 5 minutes. Quickly transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) You can freeze what you don’t use!

Heat Olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the gnocchi and sauté until slightly browned. Add the garlic and shallots. Deglaze with wine.

Add the filet, grilled to personal preference, heavy cream, basil, and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with popcorn shoots.* Serve immediately.

* Popcorn Shoots
Popcorn shoots are extremely sweet and tender with a striking slightly sour after tang.
Popcorn shoots are produced from special popcorn seed and blanched to keep them from turning green. The resulting bright yellow shoots are sensitive to light and need to be stored in closed black punnets to protect their vibrant color.
The stunningly bright yellow micro-greens are a favored fine food garnish in Europe, and are rapidly becoming a regular feature of memorable menus throughout the USA and now in New Zealand.

Martin Pfefferkorn
Executive Chef
Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead
3300 Peachtree Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30305 USA