Jean-Georges Vongerichten played with the idea of adding baking powder to the batter to lighten the dumplings, then rejected it. "Nobody does that where I'm from in Alsace," he says. Even though the dumplings look a bit clunky—they're tablespoon-size—they're so deeply satisfying you'll want to roast a chicken or a beef rib eye simply as an excuse to make them.
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4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
8 large eggs
1 1/3 cups milk, plus more if needed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or plain dry bread crumbs
How to Make It
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the salt and make a well in the center. Add the eggs to the well and lightly beat them. Whisk the flour into the eggs. Gradually whisk in the milk until a very thick batter forms. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the panko and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer the crumbs to a plate and wipe out the skillet.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, using a wet spoon, scoop heaping teaspoons of the batter into the boiling water. Once the spaetzle rise to the surface, boil them until they're cooked through, about 2 minutes. Using a skimmer or a slotted spoon, transfer the spaetzle to a platter. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the large skillet. Add half of the spaetzle and cook over moderately low heat for 4 minutes, tossing gently. Transfer the spaetzle to the platter; repeat with the remaining butter and spaetzle. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the spaetzle and serve.
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