Have you ever heard of spaetzle? Eaten spaetzle?…Made spaetzle?? No? Oh, well then, you’re in for a treat.
Spaetzle are tiny, yummy, dumplings which are generally made out of flour, eggs, water/milk, salt, and sometimes nutmeg. The soft spaetzle dough is then forced through a sieve, colander, spaetzle-maker, or box grater with large holes, into a large pot of boiling, salted, water. As with gnocchi, when they are cooked, they float to the top of the pot. Once removed from the water, they can be sauteed in a bit of butter and/or oil until browned, and then eaten as is, or thrown into a sauce.
I had only made spaetzle once (it was plain, but delicious), when I saw Michael Smith make his version of spaetzle on Chef at Home. I was intrigued by his innovative recipe, and I was quickly lured in. I have now made this particular recipe a few times, and have thoroughly enjoyed each and every time. It is not a difficult recipe to throw together, but, I must warn you, getting the spaetzle dough from your mixing bowl into the pot can be challenging if you don’t have the proper spaetzle-making equipment.
I followed Michael Smith’s suggestion, and scooped some of the pretty-green dough into my box grater, precariously hovered over the steaming pot of awaiting water, used a wooden spoon to force (and I do mean force) the dough through the holes into the water, and alternated between prayers and curses. Poor Anthony kindly came in to the kitchen to check on my progress and to offer assistance, but was greeted with my cascading sweat and momentarily grumpy attitude. “This,” I told him, “is reminding me of why I so seldomly make spaetzle”.
I am assuming that making spaetzle is not unlike childbirth…during labour, you tell yourself, “never again”, but then when you’re far enough removed from the painful process, and looking lovingly upon your child/spaetzle that has taken such pains to birth, you think, “well, maybe one more time…”
I do love cooking a variety of foods, and this is something that I will always come back to, as it is quite different from the other meals that we eat. Pasta is a real rarity in our house, and this is something that satisfies the pasta cravings.
If you’re a lunatic, like me, you’ll be busting out your makeshift spaetzle-maker as we speak.
Green Pea Spaetzle with Smoked Salmon Sauce
Source: Chef at Home
- 2 cups frozen green peas
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup water or milk
- 4 green onions, tops and bottoms
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- 6 slices smoked salmon, sliced
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 handful chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 lemon juiced and zested
- 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile puree the peas, eggs, water, onions and salt together using a blender or food processor. Pour into a mixing bowl. Add the flour and oil and stir until combined. Using a rubber spatula push the batter through the large holes of a standard box grater, push from the inside allowing the batter to ooze through the outside holes and fall into the boiling water. Stir gently and cook until tender, about two minutes.
- Strain out the spaetzle and immediately toss while still a bit wet with the cream cheese. Toss until the cream cheese melts and forms a sauce with the hot spaetzle. Add the smoked salmon, red onion, dill, capers and lemon. Toss and serve immediately.
- Alternatively brown the spaetzle for a few minutes before making the smoked salmon sauce. Strain it out of the boiling water, drain well and add to a preheated sauté pan with the melted butter or olive oil. Brown lightly and continue as above.
- Mix all ingredients together.
The ingredients come together to make a very delicious, and different, dinner.