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« It’s Easy to Make Thai Chicken Salad | Main | Make these Cucumber Pickles in Minutes »

Dumplings around the World

By Marilyn Hunter

For centuries, dough has been shaped, molded, dropped into boiling water or simmering stock to poach. I grew up eating Southern-style chicken and dumplings. Maybe this explains my adult love for the little, more refined spaetzle.

Sometimes I imagine having a German grandmother on the plains of Texas making spaetzle instead of its bigger dumpling cousin. Spaetzle is a cross between dumplings and pasta. They are boiled and then pan-fried in butter. The boys like to eat them plain, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

These delicate dumplings are tiny and plump. Select a colander and pot that have similarly sized rims so a gap of air exists between the boiling water and the bottom of the colander. This gap will allow the batter to form into dumplings before plunging into the hot water. Leftover spaetzle is also great for breakfast; it will taste like scrambled eggs and its wonderful with warm buttered toast.

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Fresh Herb Spaetzle

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 eggs
1-1/4 cups whole milk
Grated peel of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons minced fresh chervil

To Finish:
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh chervil
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together the eggs, milk, lemon peel and herbs in a second bowl.

Pour the egg mixture in a steady but slow stream into the flour mixture while stirring with a plastic spatula. Mix gently until a dough forms.

Fill a large, wide-mouthed saucepan 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Fit a metal colander with the same size rim as the saucepan and with holes at least 1/8-inch in diameter, over the saucepan. Allow enough space between colander and boiling water so that spaezel batter can be extruded through the holes before plunging into the boiling water.

Pour the spaetzle batter into the colander and press it through the holes with the plastic spatula to create tiny dumplings.

Cook the spaetzle for 45 to 60 seconds or until they float to the surface. Remove quickly but gently with a slotted spoon or hand-held strainer.

To finish, melt the butter in a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat until it's bubbling. Add the spaetzle and fresh minced chervil. Toss together until well combined. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, to taste.

Makes 4 servings

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