Spaetzle, a German dumpling, is on the menu for this ever important cooking practical exam I take this week. And honestly, in its most pure form, spaetzle is really simple. But with a few key ingredients, it can be a great way to spice up your starch life.
Although, before you get all crazy with the bacon, lettuce and tomato, you must first attack the spaetzle. The batter-slash-dough should be thicker than pancake batter, but not as thick as a biscuit dough. And you have to be willing to get down and dirty…
By mixing the flour into the milk, water and eggs with your hands. If you are not interested in full contact dumpling preparation, a wooden spoon can serve the same purpose.
Once the batter is ready… force it through something, anything, with moderate-sized holes. In my kitchen, a slotted spoon proved the best tool. But a colander can also work. If you happen to own a spaetzle extruder, by all means knock yourself out.
Then once you boil and drain the tiny dumplings, a quick sauté in butter with bacon, tomato and arugula will seal the deal. I hope the chef evaluating me tomorrow feels the same.
Spaetzle with bacon, lettuce & tomato
makes 4 servings
- 8 oz all-purpose flour (about 2¼ cups)
- 3 eggs
- 2½ Tbs milk
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
- 2 Tbs butter, unsalted
- 4 strips bacon, sliced into thin strips, cooked and drained
- 1 Roma tomato, seeds removed, small dice
- 2 cups arugula, separated
- 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- In a bowl, combine eggs, water, milk and spices. Mix in flour by hand or with a wooden spoon. Add more flour or milk to adjust consistency if necessary. It should be thicker than pancake batter, but able to ribbon off of a spatula.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Force batter through the holes of a kitchen tool into boiling water, and cook for about six minutes, until dumplings are fully cooked. Strain through a colander and dry on paper towels.
- To finish, heat butter in a large sauté pan. Add spaetzle and sauté until slightly browned, tossing occasionally. Add bacon, tomato and one and a half cups of arugula, tossing together until warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining arugula coated lightly with olive oil.
Snap Shot: Batter Consistency