Post by Alison Hein.
Spätzle, or “little sparrow,” is a hand-cut egg noodle from the region of Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I love spätzle fried in butter, liberally salted and peppered, and browned to a crisp perfection. Topping that with a gooey poached egg and specks of fresh parsley nearly sends me into a dreamy food delirium.
Making these eggy little pasta bites is easy – no need for fancy contraptions. My Austrian grandma taught me to make them with nothing more than a knife and spoon. Be careful as you gently push your thin globs of dough into the boiling water – wear gloved potholders, if you like, to be safe.
Fry them with bacon or onions, bake them with Swiss or Gruyere, spice them, sauce them, herb them but definitely serve them – for lunch, for dinner, or for a joyfully delirious breakfast in bed.
½ cup unbleached white flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons water
Spätzle mit Eier
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh curly parsley, chopped
To make spätzle, mix flour and salt together in small bowl. Whisk in eggs until smooth, thick batter forms. Gradually add water until you achieve the desired consistency. The batter should be somewhat thick, but thin enough to slide slowly off the edge of a spoon.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Scoop up a tablespoon of batter with one hand and hold over the boiling water. In the other hand, hold a butter knife parallel to the spoon, and gently (and carefully) push the strip of dough into the water. Repeat the process. As the spätzle cook they will rise to the surface. Skim them off and place in a separate bowl. When all the dough is gone and all the spätzle are cooked, rinse them in cold water and allow them to drain.
Makes about 2 cups of spätzle.
When ready to eat Spätzle mit Eier, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the spätzle and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. To poach eggs, fill a heavy saucepan with enough water to cover eggs (3 to 4 inches) and heat until very hot and simmering, but not boiling. Break eggs into individual small dishes. Or you can use an egg poacher. Carefully pour the first egg into the simmering water. Immediately use a wooden spoon to wrap the cooking white around the egg yolk to prevent the white from feathering. Repeat the process with the second egg, and cook for about four minutes, until the white is firm but the yolk is still soft. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain. Trim edges if necessary.
Divide the spätzle into two equal portions. Top each portion with a poached egg. Add salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.