Super Bowl Gougères

There are some exciting cookbooks around right now. My daughter, who knows her mother's tastes extremely well, gave me a bunch for Christmas. I love reading them- you learn so much when you read everything the author has to say. Little hints and ideas scattered about in the books. My first post-holiday read has been the award winning Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

Those of you on the west coast no doubt know all about it. But for everyone else, here's a little history I culled from the book:

Billy West opened Zuni Café  in 1979, with a huge heart and exactly ten thousand dollars. He chose the name Zuni, after the native American tribe, and decided to offer mostly simple and authentic Mexican food. Two years later, Billy hired Vince Calcagno to help run his struggling café. They made a success of this rather improbable restaurant and in 1987 Billy and Vince asked Judy Rodgers to be chef. She was confident that the owners' affection for France and Italy, and for traditional food, would sanction lots of experimentation and change. She asked Billy and Vince for a brick oven which ushered in a litany of dishes and introduced patrons to Zuni's very special whole roasted chickens. The Zuni caesar and their bread salad are two more of their iconic dishes -- and their ricotta gnocchi.

And about the author:

Award-winning chef Judy Rodgers, a fixture in the San Francisco food world, has been at Zuni Café since 1987 as chef and co-owner. She was a very lucky exchange student at Les Frères Troisgros in Roanne, France in the early seventies. It was then that she fell in love with cooking and the world of restaurants.
''BREAD is my favorite starch,'' Judy Rodgers said. ''I even thought about writing 'The Stale Bread Cookbook'." Ms. Rodgers uses leftover bread to make puddings, toasted garlicky slabs called ''chapons'' and the warm salad that accompanies her restaurant's roast chicken. ''The bread salad is a little like stuffing on the side,'' she said. Judy was fortunate enough to work at Poilane Bakery in Paris for a while. No wonder bread is a favorite with her! Judy won Chef of the Year from the James Beard Foundation in 2004.

It was nearly impossible to narrow it down to just one recipe... I have little yellow notes stuck all over in the book. Sadly, there are very few photos, but I loved the photo of (what Judy calls) New Year's Eve Gougères with Arugula, Bacon, & Carol's Pickled Onions. These little sandwiches looked so good I couldn't resist and thought they might make a  delicious appetizer for Super Bowl parties.  I mean, who doesn't love bacon, onions and cheese? You can make the gougères ahead of time and warm them up before serving. And make the pickled onions a week ahead. You are going to love the pickled onions because they can be used on  burgers, with fried fish, with a steak sandwich or even on a BLT.

My photo is not as gorgeous as the one in the book, but I can tell you that it tastes every bit as good as the Zuni Cafe's does. I loved the bits of crunch from the baked Gruyère.

Super Bowl Gougères
Adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook


1 cup water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs, cold
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Gruyère, diced into 1/4 inch cubes (about 1/2 cup)
12 slices bacon
1-1/2 ounce arugula, washed and drained
1 cup Carol's Pickled Onions (recipe below), drained


Preheat oven to 400°.
In a 2-4 quart saucepan, bring the water, butter and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture masses and detaches itself from the sides. Reduce the heat to low and cook, beating constantly (you need a really strong arm for this) until the batter is stiff and shiny looking. Remove from heat and beat in the cold eggs, one at a time. The mixture will resist addition; you'll find yourself cutting through and slapping together slabs of slippery warm paste until it finally absorbs the egg and becomes sticky again. Repeat with each egg.

The final mixture should be no hotter than tepid. Add the black pepper and Gruyère.
Use a heaping tablespoon of batter per gougère and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You will need a second spoon to scrape it into a peaky mound. If you're good with a pastry bag you can make perfect little gougère rounds. I prefer the irregular shapes. Bake until firm and brown, about 25 minutes. Some bit of cheese will ooze and form a delicious crispy edge on the gougères. Open one to make certain it is done inside; it should be tender and moist but not mushy. You can always put it back in oven...simply turn off the oven and let it finish cooking in the ambient heat.

Meanwhile, cut the bacon into 3 inch segments and panfry or roast. Drain on towels.

Serve the gougères warm from the oven (or reheated) split through the middle and overstuffed with bacon, pickled onion and peppery arugula.

Carol's Pickled Onions


12 firm yellow onions, no more than 2-1/2 inches in diameter
1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1-1/2 cups water
2 generous tablespoon sugar
2 bay leaves
1 small dried chili

A few whole black peppercorns


Peel and slice the onions into rings about 1/8 inch thick. Separate into rings.
Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, bay leaves, chili pod, peppercorns and salt in a small saucepan. If you like things hot, but the chili pod in half before adding. Bring this mixture to a simmer, turn heat up to medium and add the onions. Gently stir the crowded onions while they return to a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute.
Pour the onions and brine into a wide bowl or glass container. Cool They will turn glassy as they cool. Cover and store in the refrigerater.

I know we are all thinking of Haiti this week and keeping them in our prayers. Please do all you can by donating at:  http://www.redcross.org/


  1. Domino's Pizza, run for the hills! Even the beefy-est football guy would pinch one of these between his thumb and forefinger.

  2. I'd watch football to taste these! They sound wonderful.

  3. Looks so good who can resist bacon!?! Plus I just Love Pickled Onions they really round out a sandwich don't they.

  4. I think your photo is beautiful. I got a gob of cookbooks for Christmas too and I've been having a ball reading them. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. I don't think I'll wait for the Super Bowl those look incredibly good.

  6. These look amazing! Your daughter is very sweet :)

  7. Oh my goodness, those are so sweet the way you turned them into little sandwiches. I want to make those!

  8. I love gougeres! I have always been afraid of making them, though. Why? Dunno--it's just dough, eh?

    Thanks for the recipe and the hints. It's starting to seem do-able!

  9. Devon: They look delicate, but they are packed with hearty flavors!

    Peachkins and Susan: Thank you, they are!

    Bryan: The pickled onions are a snap to make.

    Lea Ann: Half the fun of a new cookbook is reading through page by page.

    Mimi: Think of all the different things you could stuff in these!

    Karine: My daughter is a doll and really knows how to choose cookbooks!

    HH: I loved the idea of putting such masculine ingredients in such a delicate-looking container!

    Kate: My arm got really tired but they turned out well. They do unpuff just a little as they cool. I've never made them with cheese in them before.

    Sophie: Thanks so much! I love them too and will make this over and over with other ingredients.

  10. I love how everything is from scratch. And, they look so lovely! My mouth is starting to water so I think I'd better leave now. :)

  11. Barbara, this does look like a terrific cookbook! And the recipe seems really easy, as well.

    The pickled onion recipe would be great with so many things. And I am sure that is the crowning touch for your Gougères.

    Definitely going to put this in my cocktail party recipe folder. Many thanks and keep post these wonderful recipes.

  12. oh wow these look amazing awesome food for sports and not so unhealthy as usual

  13. Yum!! Mouth-watering, even as I finish off breakfast...

    Interestingly, Zuni is the name of a little town in southeastern VA as well...

  14. Your Gougere's look fabulous! I love the Zuni Cookbook!

  15. Cheri: I'm madly trying to think of something pale green for next Monday. So far, no luck. I've got to stay alert for a blue Monday.

    George: Yes, the pickled onion recipe is a keeper!

    Rebecca: Well, they are kind of fattening...the bacon for sure. Think you could substitute any meat you wanted, though.

    Channon: I know. Those little gougeres are tempting all by themselves!

    Carol: Trust you to have that cookbook. I bet you have every one my daughter gave me!

  16. What wonderful recipes! I want one right now bacon and all! Oh yay, another cookbook I have to check out!!

  17. These sound delicious. Zuni is one of my top five favorite restaurants. Definitely make the roast chicken with bread salad--that's their signature recipe.

  18. You make 'em, I'll eat them!

  19. oh YUMMMM!!!! thanks for this..

  20. I love cookbooks! They're so magical.

  21. Lyndsey: I'll keep you posted on the others she gave me. I'm going to try to do a recipe from each as I finish reading them.

    Hungry: Yes, I discovered that while reading the book. Sounds delicious. Wasn't she lucky to work at Poilane Bakery in Paris?

    BD: I know, you don't want to bother making gougere. But I thought the idea of using something unusual as "bread" for these sandwiches was a good one.

    Heather: I love to find new appetizer recipes too!

    Duck: Yes, and she gave me 5!

  22. Thanks for sharing info on that cookbook, it looks like its full of wonderful information. I'll be sure to look for it! (I'm an avid cookbook reader as well. ;) ) Your gougeres are so cute! They are literally the perfect party food!

  23. Great gougeres, Barbara...but I gotta tell you, I would have saved them for the girl's party on Superbowl night... they are too good for beer and boys!!!! Pickled onions look amazing... and even way out east we know about ZUNI... but it's great to be reminded!

  24. These look so amazing! I love how you take photographs of what you're making step by step for those of us who tend to feel a little bit lost when it comes to cooking...it's very much appreciated! :)

  25. If you are making these for the super bowl, I want to come to your house!

  26. Yum, these look great - the book seems very nice too

  27. Boy oh boy does this look yummy. Especially the Gruyere/onion combination. The pastry almost looks like cream puffs :)

  28. Fantastic idea - what a great little appetizer. And those pickled onions sound delicious - how long do they keep for?

  29. Faith: It's a fabulous cookbook. I will be using it a lot.

    Long Past: Great idea!

    Phoenix: I don't always do that, but when you beat in the eggs, the dough looks as though you are doing something wrong, so it's better to show a photo.

    Deborah: I am taking them to someone else's house or you would get an invite!

    Anita: Thanks!

    Lynn: Well, if you take out the Gruyere cheese, that's exactly what they are!

    Trissa: The Zuni Cookbook says the onions keep "indefinitely".

  30. SOunds like a wonderful presetn Barbara! I do love pickled onions, must give this a go. The assembled whole looks absolutely delicious.

  31. Barbara this look completely amazing and tasty and wonderful pictures, xx gloria

    Lovely cookbook!

  32. I've never seen anything like it before. Looks like something I'll thoroughly enjoy. MMM...bacon.

  33. Barbara, your gougeres look adorable in the sweet little sandwiches. Now this is a great idea for the Superbowl buffet table!! My husband and his friends will love them as well as the ladies. I have been trying to come up with a few more unique and sophisticated ideas for the big game and this is just perfect!! I may eat mine while sipping a little bubbly that day :)

  34. So very elegant! i would not be able to keep my husband out of the pickled onions long enough to make these- lol!!!

  35. I love the pie day submission!

  36. Great idea to make gougere sandwiches!

  37. Barbara, I love this post! I also have the Zuni Cafe Cookbook but have not eaten in the Cafe yet. I have to do that soon.
    The Gougères look beautiful and delicious.
    I also love the pickled onions. Yum. I am now starving!

  38. Barbara, This is a definite keeper. I would love one of these right now! Great cookbook and great pictures.

  39. I've heard so much about the Zuni cookbook.....hmmmm. Some day

  40. These are such perfect bites for Superbowl and I love the pickled onions recipe!

  41. Shaz: They were really fun to make and the pickled onions are wonderful.

    Gloria: Yes, it is a fabulous cookbook. So many things I want to try.

    Vickys: I know, I love bacon too. And don't make it very often so this was a treat!

    Bunny: Everyone thinks gougeres are feminine, but the ingredients certainly are not. Just two healthy bites...and they're finger food too.

    Katherine: Ah yes, the pickled onions. I have used them 3 times since I made the gougeres! They seem to go with everything.

    Duck: Good. Do you need another photo?

    Unconfidential: Clever Judy Rodgers. I would never have thought of it!

    Pam: I haven't eaten there either, but my daughter has and she says it's delicious.

    Penny: They're actually quite light, even with the bacon.

    Kitchen: I know. It's so nice to get them as gifts!

    Natasha: Couldn't be simpler, could it? And so fast.

  42. You did an amazing job. I've never had Gougères. That surely looks delicious.

  43. What a great gift! I adore gougeres so thankyou for reminding me of them! :D I made the Zuni Cafe's chicken with bread salad and it was absolutely amazing so I can definitely recommend that! :)

  44. Honestly I do not follow football, but would take your gougères without second thoughts...looks so yummie, bacon and pickle onion :-)

  45. Oh wow, those look fabulous! Never tried them before, so I must bookmark this one!

  46. These look delightful - like savoury choux pastries. I wanna try this.

  47. Helene: Thanks! They are really good.

    Lorraine: I can't wait to make the chicken and bread salad. It's all I've heard about!

    Juliana: Yes, I guess I'll keep these on my snack list for future parties. Not just for football!

    Mowie: Thanks and I'm so impressed at how you balanced your muffcakes!

  48. Cakelaw: That's exactly what they are! The chef just added some Gruyere to make them savory. Leave that out and you have something lovely to put a filling or ice cream in.

  49. Your gougere sandwiches look incredible! The Zuni book has so much great information. I enjoy a cookbook with so many details and specifics because I learn so much from them. And, the Zuni zucchini pickles are great too.

  50. That looks absolutely lovely. How perfect!! I love receiving cookbooks as gifts. What a lucky mom to have such an attentive daughter!!

  51. I want to come over and eat.


  52. I LOVE cookbooks and this looks like a great one with some delicious recipes!!!

    To answer your question, yes - I got the help milk at Whole Foods!

  53. Hi Barbara,

    These look delicious, you are making me feel hungry.
    I too, love looking at recipe books and trying out new meals and food.
    I also enjoy watching the Food Channel Network.

    I hope that you are having a wonderful week

  54. i really should not come by here when i have not had dinner yet. this sounds amazing. may have to look this one up and order for my wife.

  55. Your photos are wonderful - and the gourgere looks scrumptious..perfect party food.

  56. ARGH!! You've done it again and posted something scrumptious during Shrink-My-Ass-Month!!! Those look amazing!

  57. Hi Barbara
    I'm so glad you left a comment today so I could visit you. That cookbook looks very interesting. It mentioned that the author was an exchange student at Les Freres Troisgros. We had an amazing memorable meal there in the late 70s. We stayed at the hotel there too and we could see down into the kitchen from our window. It was fascinating to watch all the souschefs, chopping and mixing cooking.

  58. I loved dining at Zuni Cafe! This looks like an excellent recipe. I will have to try this one soon.

  59. Lisa: Thanks for clueing me in re the zucchini pickles!

    Donna: She gave me 5! She is a darling girl, cookbooks or not.

    Renee: You're invited!

    Simply Life: Thanks for the info- I'll check there this weekend.

    Carolyn: I enjoy the Food Network as well but only certain shows. I am loving my cookbook gifts!

    Brian: As you can see from some of the comments, the restaurant is award winning so the cookbook is bound to be good.

    Cathy: They are delicious!

    TKW: Oops! Sorry about that!

    Rhondi: Judy Rodgers certainly has an interesting background. How fun you got to eat at Les Freres Troisgros! I thought it just as fascinating she worked at Poilane Bakery in Paris. Lucky girl.

    Fresh: I have not been there, but my daughter loved it! (Which is probably why she got me the cookbook!)

  60. I took this cookbook out of the library last summer and fell in love. It's now on my Amazon wishlist.

    I love these treats for the superbowl! They are definitely the most decadent superbowl food ever though.

  61. I want one of those right now!!! Oh they just look delicious!

  62. You are so right Barbara. It is finding that balance.


  63. I have the cookbook and I've made the Zuni Roast Chicken and it is really good! I made reservations for Zuni when I was in CA but they had a pipe burst or something so they had to close the day of my reservation. =(

  64. Joanne: It's a fabulous cookbook, isn't it?

    Debbie: I wouldn't mind one myself right now...

    Renee: We'd all like to disappear once in a while. How about Harry Potter's invisibility cloak?

    Jessica: Darn. I've had that happen with other restaurants- some we made plans for way in advance only to find out they had to close for renovations or something.

  65. I didn't know you had a Yorkie! I always thought they were precious...

  66. brace yourself--i've never tasted gougeres. it's true. by the looks of yours, though, they'd just melt in your mouth. the filling is outstanding too--i'm highly intrigued by the pickled onions. yes...this is a winning nosh indeed. :)

  67. I've never even heard of those, but they look so good! very fancy :)

    I don't know how I feel about pickled onions, but the rest of it looks incredible!

  68. Ahh yes, it is time to be thinking Super Bowl foods isn't it??!! This beats the heck out of anything I've ever had at a SB party!!!

    :) T

  69. Super bowl or no super bowl, I have to make these. Fabulous pictures too and thanks for the book tip. Every time I go to Paris, I wait patiently in line for the fresh Poilâne bread which is one of my biggest addictions.

  70. Duck: Yorkies are adorable!

    Grace: Brace myself indeed! You are so funny. My mother loved making cream puffs (for ice cream and hot fudge sauce) so I was intoduced to gougere early in life.

    Megan: I didn't think I would like pickled onions either, but these were especially good on that sandwich.

    Tracey: I know- usually we see chili or man-type food. Well, we women watch too and this is a good compromise.

    Vanessa: I did too! Nothing better than pain poilane!

  71. Mmm, they look delicious! I have this book on my wishlist.

  72. Gosh, this looks magnificient! So yummy. Really a mouthwatering recipe. Thanks for sharing,Barbara.



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