The Hungry Couple YVR
It’s a staple on our menu (as either the Cheese Spätzle for the table with crispy onions, or the herb spätzle as a side), and we served it last week alongside our braised pork and housemade kimchi at the Indian Summer Festival Gala. It's an iconic German dish, associated with memories of grandmothers labouring over the hot stove. Today in Germany, spätzle are mainly considered a “Swabian specialty” (Swabia is a cultural, historic, and linguistic region in southwestern German) and are often associated with the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg. In France, they’re associated with Alsace and Moselle. The total estimated annual commercial production of spätzle in Germany is approximately 40,000 tons. That’s a lot of spätzle!
Some say the name comes from the word Spatzen, which means “little sparrows.” Why? Some think that before there were specially made Spätzle tools they would put dough into their hands, as if they were holding a little sparrow, and put small pinches in the water. Another idea is that the dough was formed with two spoons, creating little oval shapes like little sparrow bodies. How it got from Spatzen to Spätzle is unclear.
Swabia is an area of Germany that has a long history. One of the dishes they are most known for is Spätzle . According to a German company, Spätzle Wonder, one of the reasons for its popularity is that Swabia was a poor area, and that this was a dish that was versatile, simple to make, and could be served alone or with a small portion of meat or vegetables and be satisfying.
Spätzle dough typically consists of a few ingredients, primarily eggs, flour, and salt. The Swabian rule-of-thumb is to use one more egg than the number of people eating the spätzle. Water is often added to produce a thinner dough. The flour traditionally used for spätzle is a coarse type known as , or what may be referred to in North America as ‘first clear’ or semolina flour. This gives a chewier texture but can produce a dough too crumbly for scraping if no water is added.
Traditionally, Spätzle are made by scraping llong, thin strips of dough off a wooden (sometimes wet) chopping board, called a Spätzlebrett, into boiling salted water, which they are cooked until they rise to the surface. The dough should be as viscous as to slowly fall apart if cut into strips with a knife, yet hold the initial shape for some seconds. If dropped into boiling water, the egg whites will congeal quickly, while the yolks will keep the eggs succulent. Once the noodles have become firm, they’re skimmed from the water and put aside.