SPINACH SOUFFLE (SOUFFLE AU EPINARDS)
This is a very light version of a spinach soufflé, and because it is made with frozen spinach,
it is also quick and easy. Just be sure to squeeze the spinach as dry as possible. The measurement
for nutmeg here is for 2 or 3 pinches, which is difficult to measure accurately, so if in doubt,
skimp: although a little nutmeg enhances the flavor of spinach, too much will overpower it. The
soufflé serves two for lunch or four as a first course.
Serves 2 or 4
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Butter and all-purpose flour for soufflé mold
5 ounces frozen spinach or the washed leaves from 1 pound fresh
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
||Preheat the oven to 475°. Liberally butter a 4-cup soufflé mold and lightly dust with flour,
tapping out any excess.
||If using frozen spinach, cook according to package directions, then drain and refresh under colder running
water. If using fresh spinach, drop the leaves into boiling water and cook 3 minutes. Drain and refresh
under cold running water. Squeeze the spinach to extract as much moisture as possible, and finely chop.
||In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. While the milk is heating, whisk the
egg yolks and water together in a small bowl. Add the 3 tablespoons flour to the yolks and blend until
smooth and free of lumps.
||Before the milk boils, stir about 1/4 cup of it into the egg yolk mixture to thin it. When the remaining
milk boils, add it to the egg yolk mixture and stir well.
||Return the egg-milk mixture to the saucepan and whisk rapidly over medium-high heat, whisking the bottom
and sides of the pan until the mixture thickens and boils, about 30 seconds. (Turning the pan as you whisk
helps you easily reach all areas of the pan.) Continue to whisk vigorously for 1 minute while the soufflé
base gently boils. It will become shiny and easier to stir.
||Reduce the heat to medium and allow the soufflé base to simmer while you season it with the salt, pepper,
and nutmeg, and add the reserved spinach. Remove the pan from the heat and cover.
||In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
||Pour the warm soufflé base into a large bowl, and with a whisk fold in one-third of the beaten egg whites
to lighten it. Some egg white will still be visible. With a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites.
Stop folding as soon as the mixture is blended; a little egg white may still be visible.
||Pour the soufflé mixture into the prepared mold, leveling the surface with your spatula. If any of the
batter touches the rim of the mold, run your thumb around the rim to clean it off.
||Bake the lowest rack in the oven for 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 425° and bake for another
5 to 7 minutes. The soufflé should rise 1 1/2 to 2 inches above the mold and brown lightly on the top. The
top may be slightly cracked, but this is not a problem. Serve immediately.
|NOTE: You can vary the flavor of this soufflé by adding 1 ounce
grated Swiss-style cheese, such as Gruyere or Emmenthaler. You might also want to add some crumbled bacon,
or a few mushrooms that have been chopped and sautéed. Just remember that the more you add, the heavier the
soufflé becomes. If you decide to use all of the above-mentioned ingredients in the soufflé, add one more
egg white to provide a little extra lift.
Excerpted from AT HOME WITH THE FRENCH CLASSICS copyright © 1988 Richard Grausman.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.