Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yes, Baldrick, a round of Geralds

What's better than Brats and Käse Spätzle with a slice of sourdough bread?

Brats and Käse Spätzle in a sandwich of sourdough bread!

Feeling Autumnal we decided on a classic and hearty pairing. The brats had the traditional treatment of a quick sear on the grill followed by a beer steam bath, and the käse spätzle came from Cookin' with Cyndi. FULL DISCLOSURE: sourdough was store bought and so were the spätzle egg noodles. It is okay to think less of me now.

But the meal was just... okay. Even with mustard the brats were drowing in the sourdough breads dryness, and the spätzle, despite/because of being packed with emmentaler cheese was a bit greasy but didn't have enough flavor pop. Perhaps the onions weren't carmelized enough? (they weren't, but sometimes they provide a textural foil that way) Perhaps we needed a cheese mix? More salt? Pepper?

Days later while deciding what to have for dinner my wife instinctively says "Panini*." And then due to divine inspiration says "Brat and spätzle panini!" The idea was just crazy enough to work!

*yes that is a panini maker... feel free to think even less of me now but I really like it. I used to 'ruin' grilled cheese and this not only cures that but also makes them much faster (no flipping) and even does a solid job of grilling small amounts of delicate things (thin eggplant grilled on this never comes out oily because I don't have to worry about it sticking to the grates so I only use the slightest touch of olive oil). Sure, it *is* a hassle to clean but I'm fine with scrubbing each individual ridge with a paper towel for cleaning. If you are okay with that detailed work, a panini press might be a good choice for you. If not... skip it.

The end product, despite having exactly the same ingredients in a slightly different (and reheated) configuration was PURE GOLD. The theory is maybe the flavors melded in the fridge, the extra oil from the käse in the spätzle gets absorbed by the bread. And the onion, while still not carmelized, was shining through and bringing flavor in a big-way.

This wasn't dry, this was perfection.


  1. Who knows why food improves overnight? My chili recipe explicitly states to store it in the fridge overnight before serving. Personally, I think the refrigerator is *magic*.

    My wife doesn't cook much, but she has a tendency to make "blackened" grilled cheese as well. I'm a sandwich perfectionist, so that rarely happens to me, but I don't make sandwiches all that much anymore and I'm not sure we have the counter or storage space for a panini press, but it's certainly something I'll keep in mind, should our kids show signs of becoming sandwich-making crazy people.

  2. @Sam:totally agree on the fridge and flavor melding. Sauces improve, our goulash improved, everything.

    Storage space is always my primary consideration. And my grandfather (chef in NYC who needed only a plan, a plate, a knife, and a spoon) is probably rolling in his grave. :)

  3. Very Interesting,but I need more.

    Love Mom

  4. I love how you turned a bland meal into a memorable one.