As you probably know, I heart Deutschland, and my love for the Vaterland is never more apparent than in Weltmeisterschaft season. I proudly don my Podolski jersey, talk about the Fussballgott Müller to anyone who will listen, and of course partake in the food and beverage of choice. Here I am in '10 pressing my thumbs (the German version of crossing one's fingers).
German food is, in a word, soflippingdeliciousiwanttobeburiedinit. The staples of German cuisine are meat (most often pork, most often roasted), potatoes (most often fried), and beer. What's not to love? Unless you're vegetarian or on a low-carb diet, and in that case, you've got bigger problems.
To celebrate Germany's massive win over Portugal (4:0!!!), I decided to cook up a specialty of the Schwäbisch (southwestern) area of Germany: spätzle. (By the way, Thomas Müller, if you're reading this, I know you're married and all, but I am totally willing to be a sister wife, cook you spätzle, teach your children English, help you find proper socks, etc. SMS me.)
Back to the dish. Spätzle are raggedy egg noodles, boiled, fried, and often served with cheese and fried onions. Think German macaroni and cheese. I had never made them before, but after my success with homemade pasta, I was confident.
I followed this recipe, and it worked perfectly. The pancake-like batter came together perfectly. The hardest part about spätzle is getting the noodles into the boiling water. As much as you want homemade spaghetti noodles to be uniform and beautiful, you want spätzle to be un-uniform and un-beautiful. Both ends of the spectrum are surprisingly hard to do!
I first tried my metal steamer basket turned upside down. I pressed the batter through the holes, and it worked okay, but I found that the batter that stuck to the steamer was cooking faster than I could get it pressed through the holes, so I quickly went to Plan B.
My next attempt involved a plastic bag filled with the batter. I poked four large-ish holes in the bottom, held it above the boiling water, and then squeezed intermittently, so that the batter would come out. This was easy, involved little clean-up, and produced just scraggly enough looking spätzle.
I let them boil in batches for a few minutes. The recipe says 5-8. Mine needed more like 2-3. They'll rise to the top and expand when they are finished. I fished them out and transferred them to an ice bath.
To serve, I heated up some bacon grease (because bacon) and butter (because butter) in a pan and added the spätzle. I let the noodles heat back up and get just barely golden brown. At the end of cooking, I threw in a handful of cheese. (I had Colby jack on hand. Emmenthaler is more authentic.) Fried onions are also a traditional topper.