July 17, 2009

Quark Spätzle

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delicious egg-rich fresh noodles seasoned with nutmeg

I read a recipe of the German cheese called Quark while browsing through one of my Spanish cookbooks THE CUISINES OF SPAIN by Teresa Barrenechea. The cheese is simple to make: Pour 4 cups of whole milk in a glass jar, cover with a towel and leave on the kitchen counter for 48 hours. The milk would have set and ready to be drained on a muslin or cheesecloth. Gather the edges f the cheesecloth, twist, and tie with a string. Place the bundle on top of a sieve and place the sieve on top of a bowl. Weight down the cheesecloth with a pan filled with water. Or hang the cheesecloth on the kitchen faucet and let the whey drain. The soft solid in the cheesecloth is the quark cheese. Salt may be added to flavor the cheese. Transfer into a container and refrigerate immediately. The cheese will last for a few days. I used the cheese right away to make Quark Spätzle, the German fresh egg noodles. The noodle dish is very yummy specially with grilled pork ribs. The amount of nutmeg is perfect and I love that the spätzle is very tender.

Quark Spätzle
serves 2

½ cup quark cheese, homemade or store-bought
3 eggs
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of ground white pepper
1½ tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, finely minced
sea salt and ground white pepper
freshly grated nutmeg, about a quarter of the whole nut
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
¼ cup water
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon salt for every quart. In a small bowl, mix flour, ½ teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and white pepper. With a wire whisk, blend the quark and eggs together in a large bowl. Stir in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until smooth.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Keep the heat at medium while boiling the spätzle.
  • Push the dough through the holes of a colander, spätzle maker, or a potato ricer into the boiling water. Stir the spätzle and cook for 1 minute. Then, using a skimmer or a large slotted spoon, transfer the spätzle to the hot skillet. Raise the heat up to high and fry the noodles until they begin to turn golden. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the cheese and stir-fry until it begins to brown slightly. Add the water and stir-fry until it is absorbed. Add more water if you want the noodles to have a thick soupy consistency. Serve immediately.


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