It’s quite a dreary day, today, grey and damp-cold, but not raining. You know what’s perfect on a day like this? Soup and dumplings, that’s what! I like to bake dumplings, so they get a little crispy on the outside, before you surrender them to the depths of your soup or stew. I like that contrast in texture, and the sense of immediacy in eating them before they lose their crispness, and in enjoying their transformation. These dumplings, made with semolina flour and eggs, are crispy outside, but they’re dense and soft on the inside. They’re a lot like Roman gnocchi, as it happens, and you could certainly eat them with a sauce of some sort, rather than dunking them in a soup. They’re quick-as-can-be to make, and you can have them hot out of the oven by the time your soup is warmed up.
Bouillabaisse photographed in the company of a semolina dumpling
Here’s Sam Cooke with Sugar Dumpling.
2 cups milk
mix of herbs (I used rosemary, thyme and basil)
3/4 cup (generously measured) semolina
4 T butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup cheese of your choice (I used sharp cheddar)
1. Warm the milk with the herbs, salt and pepper till just boiling, over medium-high heat.
2. Add the semolina, and stir till well mixed. Continue stirring as it thickens. In a few minutes it should be quite thick – it will be able to support your spoon.
3. Take it off the heat and beat in the butter, then the cheese, then the eggs one at a time.
4. Drop by mounded tablespoons onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
5. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes till they’re puffed and crispy, and golden brown on the outside.
6. Serve in a soup, or stew, or with the sauce of your choice!