Spaetzle is an Austrian side dish that will compliment my recipe for Wiener Schnitzel. I wanted to do an Austrian dish in his honor of Anton Flory, the master chef that I had the privilege of doing my apprenticeship with.
Try Smitty’s recipe for Wiener Schnitzel
Tony was an incredible chef, but more than that, he was an incredible teacher. Always ready to answer any questions, he knew when to stay close and when to leave you space. If it took longer to break down a leg of beef or something, he would never get upset. He would simply walk by and ask; “So, are you cutting that leg into pieces or just tickling it?”
Don’t overwork the dough or your noodles will be tough.
I had met Tony about three years before I started training with him when I was a waiter in his restaurant. I remember the first days I worked how all the dining room staff warned of the chef’s temper and to watch out not to ever get on his bad side.
On one of my first nights, a waitress had a 12-top and she was just about to pick up a tray with all 12 dinners on it and I thought there was no way she’d make it to the table. I told her I’d carry it out for her and as I picked it up, the top plate started sliding off. I realized if I tried to save it, I would lose more so I watched as the lobster, plated in the sitting position, claws up, slid off doing a complete somersault. The reflex action in me made me try and soften the crash with my foot and I caught it on my foot, lobster still sitting. So I’m standing there on one foot with the lobster on the other and 11 dinners on the tray and I was in such shock I had caught it, I couldn’t stop laughing. There was no way that plate was ever going to make it and I finally booted it off my foot but couldn’t go out in the dining room quite yet because I was still in full-on hysterics.
Meanwhile everyone else is dead silent looking from me to Tony and waiting for the screams to begin. I think he also was amazed by the catch and I don’t know how many of the others noticed the grin that passed across his face before he calmly said, “Well, I guess we are going to need a new lobster.”
I never did see the mad Austrian chef. I only wish my college professors were as eager and patient to teach me biology as Tony was about teaching cooking, although that would mean I would probably be working elsewhere these days.
1 C milk
½ T salt
1 t nutmeg
1 C plus 2 T flour
Bring some lightly salted water to a boil in a pot large enough so that when you place a strainer over it; the bottom of the strainer is at least several inches above the water. Use a solid strainer not a wire-mesh strainer; the bigger the holes the better. Have a bowl of ice water next to the stove. Combine the eggs, milk, salt and nutmeg in a bowl.
With a wooden spoon — not a whisk — incorporate the combination into the flour. Don’t overwork the dough or your noodles will be tough.
Place a little of the dough into the strainer and use a plastic spatula to force the dough through the holes into the boiling water. Let the dough drops cook for about 1 minute then immediately place in the ice water to stop them from cooking anymore. Remove them to dry.
If the dough in the strainer starts to get sticky, dust with a little flour. Repeat in small batches until all is cooked and cooled.
Pat the noodles with a paper towel to dry and then sauté in a heavy skillet or pan with some butter. Let the noodles sit for a bit before stirring to allow them to get golden brown. Also, let the butter brown during this process to add flavor.