Semmelknoedel, wonderful bread dumplings from Austria and Bavaria were the inspiration for this recipe. When someone mentions stale bread, the first thing that comes to mind is Semmelknoedel. My grandmother used to make them whenever there was stale bread around the house. Traditional Semmelknoedel are made with parsley and nutmeg and then served with rich roasts and gravy. Here, I use sage and parmesan instead, and substitute gravy with the hazelnut butter to turn the dumplings into a stand alone dish, and a wholesome and simple dinner for whenever you ponder over what to do with all that stale bread. —QueenSashy
about 24 dumplins (6 first course servings)
old bread rolls, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 10oz)
small garlic clove, minced
grated Parmigiano Reggiano
small sage leaves (or 6 large ones cut into pieces)
Warm up the milk. Pour the warm milk over the bread cubes. (You may want to start with about one cup and add more if needed, as the exact amount of milk will depend on the type of bread. You should use only as much milk as needed to soften the bread, not soak it.) Leave the bread for about 15-20 minutes.
Saute the shallots in one or two tablespoons of olive oil, until very soft, for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or two.
Beat the eggs. Add the eggs, onion and cheese to the bread mixture, season gently with salt, and knead until it has consistency of mashed potatoes. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour.
With wet hands, form the bread mixture into 1-inch balls. (The dough will be very sticky -- do not get discouraged, and keep wetting the hands after every two or three balls you make.)
In a large pot bring water to boil, then reduce the heat until the water is just simmering. Gently drop the dumplings into the water and simmer for about 15 minutes. Do not let the water boil.
In the meantime prepare the butter sauce. In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, reduce the heat to medium and stir gently as the butter begins to foam. Keep on stirring as the water evaporates from the butter and it continues to foam in bigger bubbles. Soon you will notice how the milk solids in the foam begin to gradually turn golden brown and fall to the bottom of the pan. At that point the butter should also have a wonderful hazelnut aroma. Add the sage leaves, wait for a couple of seconds for the leaves to crisp and remove from heat. Add the lemon juice and keep on very low heat to stay warm.
Remove the dumplings from the pot using slotted spoon. Place the dumplings into individual plates, coat generously with the butter sauce and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.