What’s For Dinner?
Spaetzle aux Champignons - from Cafe Alsace
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
From the menu of . . . Cafe Alsace
121 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur
Q: Cafe Alsace in Decatur has a wonderful entree that I would like to make at home. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the entree. It includes spaetzle, shrimp and mushrooms in a cream sauce. It is absolutely delicious!
- Suzanne Devoe, Alpharetta
A: Spaetzle (pronounced SHPEHT-sluh, SHPEHT-sehl or SHPEHT-slee) means "tiny sparrow" in German. It is a dish of tiny dumplings that are boiled and then tossed or fried with butter. The dough can be firm enough to roll and cut into pieces or soft enough to press through a colander or spaetzle maker.
Hands on time: 45 minutes Total time: 1 hour Serves: 6
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 (10-ounce) bag fresh spinach
1 pound (30-count) raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 cups heavy cream
Pepper to taste
2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
In a large saute pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Saute the mushrooms until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and toss to wilt. Push the mushroom mixture aside and saute the spaetzle in the butter for a few minutes. Add the shrimp and cream and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until shrimp is cooked through and the cream is slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture into a buttered 3-quart baking dish or into individual 2-cup casseroles, such as French onion soup crocks. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden.
Chef Sylvain Lefort at Cafe Alsace recommends a spaetzle maker for this recipe, but we tested it with a colander, and it worked fine --- although the process was a bit messy.
You won't find this particular combination of spaetzle and shrimp in too many places, said owner Benedicte Cooper. "The original dish is with ham, onion, cream and cheese, and we have that one, too, " she said. "This one, with the shrimp, we kind of made it up ourselves."