16 February 2010

Spinach Cheese Soufflé

Now that we've hit that part of winter when we begin holding our breaths for spring, we might need some help getting through the dreary days ahead. Try this "incentivizing" cheese soufflé—an indulgent dinner that requires some elbow grease and silent conspiring with God.
Spinach Cheese Soufflé: Preheat oven to 400° F. Generously butter six ramekins or coffee mugs. Separate 6 eggs, and keep the whites in the refrigerator in a large, clean bowl until ready to use. Steam or boil 10 ounces of spinach. Transfer to an ice bath to cool, squeeze out as much water as possible, and then chop finely. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons flour over it, stirring constantly for two or three minutes, until it darkens slightly and smells nutty. Slowly whisk in 1-1/2 cups warm milk in increments so as to avoid any clomps forming. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens considerably, about 5 minutes. Now you’ve got béchamel! Whisk in the egg yolks and off the heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, a few gratings of fresh nutmeg, the chopped spinach, and 4 or 5 ounces bleu or goat cheese, and let be. In the cold bowl the eggwhites are in, beat them until stiff peaks form. Fold them into the custard mixture. Scoop into the prepared cups using a ladle, filling each an inch from the top. Wipe the rims clean with your finger (this allows the soufflés to rise evenly). Bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown; they’ll be a little bit jiggly in the center. Serve IMMEDIATELY.



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