featured-images-9If you’re not familiar with spaetzle, you might be thinking “What in the world is a spaetzle (or Spätzle)?!” Spaeztle is a dish consisting of carby deliciousness that is kind of a cross between a noodle and a dumpling. Similar to pasta, it is noodley with a delicious chewy texture. Unlike pasta, it is usually pan-fried or sautéed right after it is cooked, adding a nice little crunch in places. Traditionally considered German, I suppose there is a French crossover region since I got the recipe from The Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan (who spells it “Spaëtzli.”) So this is going to be a French Spaëtzli recipe. The book, by the way, is stunning. Anne Willan adds in not only beautiful rustic recipes and photographs, but also snippets about the different regions of France, discussions of cheese and eggs and many other nuances to which those of us who are not French may not be privy. Another bonus is that, since the book focuses on country cooking, the food is beautiful and distinctly French (unless it’s German) without all that fussiness that is often associated with French cuisine.

As for the Jalapeño Lemon Cream Sauce, that’s all me! I actually made two attempts at the sauce. The first one was really lemony with just a hint of jalapeno, with no heat. The second was much more jalapeno-ey with a hint of lemon (more heat). I liked them both and will therefore give you creative license to do what you will with the sauce.

spaetzl ingredients

The Spaetzle, Spätzle or Spaëtzli*

3 1/2 C Flour, plus more for dusting etc.
1 C Water
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Unsalted butter
Pepper (to taste)
not pictured: Garlic (optional)

* this actually makes a whole lot of dough, the book says enough for 6 to 8 people. I halved it and it was plenty for 3 as a side and for dinner for me the next day.

sauce ingredients

Jalapeño Lemon Cream Sauce

3 lemons, juiced
3 jalapeños
approx 1 tbsp butter
1/4 C heavy cream
1 C chicken broth or white wine
approx 3 tbsp flour (or 1 tbsp cornstarch)
basil
tarragon
salt
pepper

egg

So first things first, get a good workspace cleared. Traditionally, this, like pasta, would be assembled on a flat workspace, but since I’m challenged that way, I used a big shallow bowl to assemble the dough. Sift together the flour and salt and then make a well in the center of the mix. Take your lightly beaten egg and pour it in the middle of the well along with the water. Yeah, there’s an unbeaten egg in the picture because my brain blocked out the “lightly beaten” instruction. Whatever.

ball

Use your fingers to mix the dry into the wet until it all comes together in a ball. Be careful, because for me the wet overtakes the dry and all of a sudden there is liquid running everywhere. Thus the bowl. At this point, oil up a bowl, put the dough in it, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. I made the dough in the morning and left it in the fridge until dinner time and it was fine. The last 1/3 of the dough stayed in the fridge until dinner the next day and it was fine.

patted out

When it is time for dinner, put on big pot of salted water to boil. You will also need a baking sheet that is covered in flour and a cutting board that has also been floured. Take half the dough and pat it out with your fingers until it is a long strip, about 2 inches wide and 3/8 inch thick. Put the other half back in the fridge.

squirmies

Use a knife (or other flat sharp object) to cut off slivers, as thin as you can get, and place them on the floured baking sheet.

cook

Working in batches, slide the dough strips into the boiling water and wait for them to bubble up to the top.  It doesn’t take long.

saute - black pan

When you have cooked all of the spaetzle, fire up a saute pan with some butter (and garlic, if desired) and cook the spaetzle a second time, letting them get as crunchy or stay as soft as you like.

finished no sauce

At the end, season with pepper. You can also salt, but it will probably be pretty salty at this point anyway and may not need it.

 

soak

To make the sauce: slice up a jalapeño and squeeze 2 lemons. I combined the jalapeño and lemon juice and let that brew for about 24 hours. That is completely optional, but is how I got the flavor of jalapeño without the spiciness in option 1 – no heat.

sauce - jalapeno

 When you are ready to make the sauce, use the same pan in which you just sautéed the spaetzle.  Chop up the basil, tarragon and, if you want the spicier sauce, add jalapeño number 2. Add to the pan along with the butter. Let those cook for a few moments. Add the lemon juice, discarding the slices that had been soaking. Also add fresh lemon juice from lemon #3 if a more lemony flavor is desired.

sauce

 Dissolve the flour in the chicken broth/wine and add to the pan. Also add the cream. Reduce the sauce until it is nice and thick. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

I poured the sauce through a strainer directly onto the spaetzle and tossed the spaetzle. I had some sauce left over, so I cooked some asparagus and tossed the asparagus in the sauce as well.

 To serve, I plated the spaetzle (already sauced) with some asparagus and used thin slices of jalapeño #3 as garnish. It has a pleasant amount of heat and was yummy.  Bon appetite!

Spaetzle (shp-ah-zle) with Jalapeno Lemon Cream Sauce
 
Recipe By:
Ingredients
  • The Spaetzle, Spätzle or Spaëtzli
  • 3½ C Flour, plus more for dusting etc.
  • 1 C Water
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • not pictured: Garlic (optional)
  • Jalapeño Lemon Cream Sauce
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 3 jalapeños
  • approx 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ C heavy cream
  • 1 C chicken broth or white wine
  • approx 3 tbsp flour (or 1 tbsp cornstarch)
  • basil
  • tarragon
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. So first things first, get a good workspace cleared. Traditionally, this, like pasta, would be assembled on a flat workspace, but you can also use a big shallow bowl to assemble the dough. Sift together the flour and salt and then make a well in the center of the mix. Take your lightly beaten egg and pour it in the middle of the well along with the water.
  2. Use your fingers to mix the dry into the wet until it all comes together in a ball. Be careful, because for me the wet overtakes the dry and all of a sudden there is liquid running everywhere. Thus the bowl. At this point, oil up a bowl, put the dough in it, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. When it is time for dinner, put on big pot of salted water to boil. You will also need a baking sheet that is covered in flour and a cutting board that has also been floured. Take half the dough and pat it out with your fingers until it is a long strip, about 2 inches wide and ⅜ inch thick. Put the other half back in the fridge.
  4. Use a knife (or other flat sharp object) to cut off slivers, as thin as you can get, and place them on the floured baking sheet.
  5. Working in batches, slide the dough strips into the boiling water and wait for them to bubble up to the top. It doesn't take long.
  6. When you have cooked all of the spaetzle, fire up a saute pan with some butter (and garlic, if desired) and cook the spaetzle a second time, letting them get as crunchy or stay as soft as you like.
  7. At the end, season with pepper. You can also salt, but it will probably be pretty salty at this point anyway and may not need it.
  8. To make the sauce: slice up a jalapeño and squeeze 2 lemons. I combined the jalapeño and lemon juice and let that brew for about 24 hours. That is completely optional, but is how I got the flavor of jalapeño without the spiciness in option 1 - no heat.
  9. When you are ready to make the sauce, use the same pan in which you just sautéed the spaetzle. Chop up the basil, tarragon and, if you want the spicier sauce, add jalapeño number 2. Add to the pan along with the butter. Let those cook for a few moments. Add the lemon juice, discarding the slices that had been soaking. Also add fresh lemon juice from lemon #3 if a more lemony flavor is desired.
  10. Dissolve the flour in the chicken broth/wine and add to the pan. Also add the cream. Reduce the sauce until it is nice and thick. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  11. Pour the sauce through a strainer directly onto the spaetzle and toss.
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