Dumplings loom large in the Austrian cuisine — from savory to sweet, stuffed or not stuffed, fried or boiled, the variety is huge. We serve dumplings as a main dish, side, or a dessert. Cheese dumplings (Kaspressknödel) are squashed and fried vegetarian dumplings made out of strong hard cheese to give them a distinct and savory flavor. They are usually served as a topping on a green salad or added to a clear soup (mostly a meat-based broth).
Similar to Austrian Mac and Cheese you normally use Tyrolean Bergkäse, Alpkäse, Graukäse or any other strong hard cheese. If you don’t have anything like that at hand, aged cheddar has turned out to be a suitable alternative as well. Another special ingredient is bread cubes (Knödelbrot) which are very typical in Austria. Bread cubes (Knödelbrot) are made of dry white bread and you get them in almost every supermarket or bakery over there. Alternatively, you can also use toast or any old or dry white bread — just dice and dry it in the oven (80ºC/175ºF) for about 60 minutes. You can make them in advance too.
To be honest, sometimes when I am too lazy to make bread cubes. In this case, I just use regular toast without drying for this recipe and it works well too.
- Prepare the ingredients If you don't use bread cubes, dice the toast. Place the bread cubes in a medium-size bowl. Add milk and let them soak for few minutes. Meanwhile, peel and small dice the onions Wash and finely chop the parsley.
- Brown the onion In a large pan, heat butter on medium-high, add the diced onions and brown them. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down.
- Make the mixture Add to the bread cubes mixture, browned onion, chopped parsley, eggs, and the grated cheese. Be careful, the browned onion shouldn't be hot anymore otherwise the eggs will get clumpy. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Form cheese dumplings Form balls and then flatten them to about 1 inch (2 cm) like hamburger patties.
- Fry and serve cheese dumplings In a large pan heat frying oil on medium-high. As soon as the oil is hot enough add the cheese dumplings and fry them. Cook 5-8 minutes per side or until the dumplings are golden brown. Serve them in a clear soup or on top of a green salad.
If you have some leftovers from the cheese dumplings you can freeze them. I usually unfreeze and serve them in a hot clear soup.