Cook Like: Russell Klein of Brasserie Zentral

The Brasserie Zentral chef makes a no-sweat spaetzle

Photo by TJ Turner/Sidecar

Chef Russell Klein made his name with Meritage, a St. Paul temple to French-inflected cuisine. His Minneapolis venture, Brasserie Zentral, moves the action east into the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. At Zentral, sophisticated cuisine bumps up against regional comfort foods such as spaetzle, a fresh pasta reminiscent of Italian gnocchi.

The power of spaetzle is its texture. When properly boiled and then sautéed, it has a tender-but-toothsome interior and a crispy exterior that practically crackles. Submerged in rich sauces or dressed simply with greens or a bit of meat, spaetzle supports or shines as the situation warrants.





Russell Klein of Brasserie Zentral Recipe


Makes 8 generous servings

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1¾ c. milk
  • 1 lb. all-purpose flour
  1. Combine wet ingredients in large mixing bowl and add flour, stirring until no lumps remain.
  2. Let rest for 30 minutes in refrigerator.
  3. Over pot of salted, boiling water, pass dough through spaetzle maker (available online and at kitchen supply stores).
  4. Once spaetzle pieces float to the top of the water, skim off and shock in ice water.
  5. Once chilled, remove spaetzle from water and toss with oil. Store refrigerated in an air-tight container until ready to re-heat and serve.




Meet James Norton


Our new Cook Like host has serious foodie cred

Our omnivorous Cook Like host, James Norton, has eaten his way around the Midwest, as familiar with the highbrow as low, from the gourmet Vincent burger to the pub-style Juicy Nookie. His website, Heavy Table, is one of the premier sources for food info in the upper Midwest—especially come State-Fair season, when its comprehensive guide to the year’s new food and beverage appears (he’s got high hopes for the new beer gelato this year at Mancini’s Al Fresco, which he hopes will succeed in “wrapping two hedonistic pleasures into one).

Norton describes food journalism as a “calling,” the thing that he got really excited about writing about when he began his journalism career. “Food has always been how I formed memories,” he explains.

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