A native of Germany, James Beard House featured chef Martin Brock has fond memories of Black Forest mac and cheese, made with traditional noodle of that area, spaetzle. To make spaetzle, a simple dough is pushed through the small holes of a spaetlze press, poached, and then given a comforting cloak of gruyere and topped with sweet caramelized onions.
Serves 6 as an appetizer
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 onion, diced
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
To start, put a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. In the meantime, caramelize the onions. Heat the grapeseed oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, reduce heat, and cook slowly until the onions caramelize and reach a golden brown color, about 20 minutes.
To make the spaetzle, place flour, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until it forms an elastic, smooth dough, about 1 minute. Remove the dough from the bowl and place into a perforated pan (you can use a colander with large holes) or a spaetzle press. Using a plastic pastry cutter or spatula, squeeze the dough through the holes into the boiling water. Cook until the spaetzle rises to the surface of the water, 1 to 2 minutes. Strain and transfer to a bowl.
Combine the chicken stock and spaetzle in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gruyere, butter, and sour cream; stir until the cheese beings to melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide into 6 ramekins or small bowls and garnish with caramelized onions and a sprig of chervil.
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