When I lived in New York City, my favorite “big splurge” restaurant was Lutece, the lauded townhouse-turned-restaurant of celebrated chef and owner Andre Soltner. — Soltner was born in the Alsace region of France, a place where the tiny dumplings called spaetzle is a common side dish at meals. It’s also quite popular in Germany and is terrific alongside schnitzel, brats, or lots of other dishes. Just use spaetzle wherever you would normally use noodles as a side dish.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. salt
- a pinch of grated nutmeg
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh chives or parsley
- 1 Tbsp peanut oil
- 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the salt, nutmeg and cold water.
- Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour. Whisk vigorously until the flour is smooth. If the spaetzle mixture is too stiff, add more water, a tablespoon at a time. The mixture should be about the consistency of thick pancake batter.
- Stir the chives or parsley into the spaetzle batter.
- Prepare an ice bath to cool down the cooked spaetzle.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the peanut oil.
- Using a colander with large holes or a spaetzle machine placed over the boiling pot of water, pour some of the batter into the colander or spaetzle machine. The batter will drip through the holes into the water. When the spaetzle floats to the top of the pot, remove it to the ice bath with a slotted spoon or sieve. Continue cooking the spaetzle in batches until you’ve used up all the batter.
- Drain the spaetzle from the ice bath into a colander and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Add the spaetzle and saute in the butter, stirring frequently, until slightly crisp, about 10 minutes.
- Serve with salt and pepper, to taste.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.