"Resto-fying" ancient noodle recipe

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by recky, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. recky

    recky

    Messages:
    263
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Hey guys and gals,

    I've been gradually introducing modernised versions of very traditional regional dishes to my ever-changing menu, which really seem to go down a storm with the punters.

    There's one ancient recipe I've been struggling with, though. Not with actually making it, but making it feasible in a restaurant kitchen. Maybe someone out here has an idea?

    It's quite simple, really: We're talking about a local variation on spätzle, although the dough is somewhat different, fairly sticky, i.e. three eggs to 500 g of flour, some milk, some mineral water, salt, nutmeg; a recipe I got from my girlfriend's 83-year-old granny. You then form rough quenelles with a dessert spoon and drop them straight into boiling salted water. They cook within seconds. When they're done they are still quite sticky on the outside, and that's my issue with them. I drop them onto a kitchen towel to drain the water off, then they go straight into a saute pan to be sauteed with butter and/or whatever sauce they are destined to be served with.

    Now, spätzle you can easily prep hours ahead of service and keep in a hotel pan, but these noodles are so sticky that they cling to the towel like crazy, so I daren't prep them ahead of time, fearing that they might turn into one big football-sized noodle. So for now, I make them a la minute, but it's a PITA! I have tried drying them off for an hour or so on a towel, but they are difficult to lift off again after a while.

    Is it the inherent texture of this type of noodle dough? I could make them more spätzle-like, but that would be missing the point, as I want to feature these noodles as a local, almost extinct specialty.

    Thanks for any ideas you might offer!

    Recky
     
  2. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

    Messages:
    805
    Likes Received:
    62
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Would oiling or coating in starch ruin the effect?

    Is the shape essential? Could this be piped successfuly?
     
  3. everydaygourmet

    everydaygourmet

    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    46
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    simple ice shock, use a spider store on wax paper if parchment is to cling-e.

    Best,

    EDG
     
  4. michaelga

    michaelga

    Messages:
    1,237
    Likes Received:
    64
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    All things to experiment with:

    Try holding them in ice-cold water or stock.  Once cooked they might have enough of a pelicule to resist absorbing too much moisture.  Also try making a 'thicker' version and then holding in stock/water to get the same end result.

    or,

    Once cooked drop them into a bowl with some clarified butter and toss then spread on silpat, let the butter congeal with the 'dumplings' and scrape it all off into a hot saute pan for service.

    or, 

    (as Allen said) make your batter and find an alternative to making quenelles prior to boiling.   ie. piping, batter dispenser - cook and cut afterwards.   Use a half tube mold and cut them off into the water. Large spout funnel cut on an angle and then fill and cut with a knife as the batter runs out.

    or,

    try draining on a medium mesh screen (cake rack) that is sprayed with PAM or sometype of oil... end of the night the rack will look like hell but it might work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
  5. recky

    recky

    Messages:
    263
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Thanks a lot for your replies!!!

    I have been experimenting: Tried 00 flour instead of the regular northern European 405-type - better. The higher gluten content of the Italian flour ensures that the noodles/dumplings are less gluey on the outside and retain more bite on the inside. Added one more egg per pound of flour, even better.

    There is less gunk in the water now, i.e. the stuff that doesn't stick to the shaped noodle but then adheres to it once lifted out of the water.

    I now drain them well, spread them out on a large tray and leave them to cool. Then they go into a plastic container, coated with a little oil, as the Italians do with their pre-cooked dry pasta. Works pretty well!

    While it's no longer the original recipe, the noodles are almost indistinguishable from my girlfriend's grandma's. And I'm proud to report that they've been a hit with tourists and locals alike!

    Thanks,

    Recky