Spaetzle. Before this week, I’d heard of but never seen or eaten spaetzle, let alone made it. However, for over 20 years, I’ve been the proud owner of a Spaetzle Maker. It’s spent most of that time in my basement, never seeing the light of the kitchen. This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is for Herb-Speckled Spaetzle. It seems that spaetzle and I will finally make each other’s acquaintance in 2013.
You might wonder why I would have this gadget in my basement for so long and never actually used it. Good question. Truth be told, I’m a bit of a pack rat. (To my sisters, if you are reading this, hold your comments, please…) More importantly, the spaetzle maker was a wedding shower gift from my mother who had just moved to Germany, Sankt Leon-Rot, just south of Heidelberg, to be more exact. (She lived there for 3 years before returning to the U.S.) Sharing a bit of German culinary culture was the perfect gift. However, not having any connection to German culinary culture and never having had spaetzle before, I wasn’t in a big hurry to try it. As with so many other things, I got distracted and forgot about it.
The dumpling dough mixed together easily with pantry ingredients. For herbs, I used what I always think of as the Simon and Garfunkel quartet: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Corny, I know.
The dough was like an extra thick pancake batter. In batches, I squeezed the dough through my spaetzle meister, which was like a big potato ricer with funny shaped holes like squiggly lines into a pot of boiling water.
In the pot, the dough blobs grew. The process felt a bit awkward. I have no idea whether my dough was the right consistency, whether my spaetzles are the right shape, or if there was some kind of technique I need to master. With no point of comparison, the end result seemed to come out fine. (German friends, please advise.)
Finally, for this recipe, you make a mushroom sauce which turns the spaetzle into a meal. I followed the recipe closely, though I used a red onion and cremini mushrooms to add some color. The recipe said it made 2 main-course servings. I don’t know who was doing the eating, but the two of us ate hearty portions for two separate meals, so this easily made 4 main-course servings. Crazy!
I don’t know why I waited over 21 years to use my spaetzle maker. This was a definite hit. Dinner conversation revolved around what other kinds of sauces we could use when we make this again. Last year, when I was reading Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite, she wrote about spaetzle. She mixes in caramelized onions and greens, then tops it all with cheese before baking it. Dorie’s recipe was good, but that sounds even better, like a German-style mac and cheese. Can’t wait to try it Melissa’s way next!
If you’ve never had spaetzle before, you need to make it right away: today, or at least this week. Dorie’s recipe can be found here on Epicurious. To see how my blogger friends enjoyed their spaetzle experiences, check out their links here.