There’s been some fresh spinach in the fridge waiting its turn to make it to the dinner table. So this afternoon, I washed it and took the stems off. Dried it and finely chopped up a large shallot. Into some butter in a hot skillet, the shallot and spinach cooked until the greens were wilted. Minced it up and let it cool.
Then made the bechamel sauce for the cheese part of the souffle:
- Melted 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- Added 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour and blended it into the butter with a fork
- Heated up a cup of whole milk until bubbles appeared and slowly added the scalded milk into the roux
- Mixed in 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup of shredded romano cheese and stir well; let cool before adding egg yolks.
- Added 5 egg yolks, one at a time and mixed well
- Stir in finely chopped cooked spinach mixture creating a creamy spinach-cheese bechamel sauce. Let this cool to room temperature before beating the egg whites and folding them in.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees at least an half an hour before dinner time.
- Meanwhile with an electric mixer, beat 5 egg whites until stiff
- In 4 increments, gently fold in the stiff egg whites into the spinach mixture folding them in with a gentle down, up-and-over movement of a rubber spatula.
- When all the egg whites are incorporated, add a little salt and stir gently.
- In a prepared souffle dish (buttered and sprinkled with grated cheese), carefully add the spinach cheese souffle mixture.
- Before putting it in the oven, turn it down to 375 degrees and run a sharp knife in a circle around the top of the souffle mixture. This will allow the top to rise higher than the rest like a chef’s toque (see photo above.)
- Place the souffle in the middle of the oven set at 375 degrees and leave it in for 35 minutes. Keep the oven door shut the whole time and peer through the glass front with the oven light on if you want to see how it’s doing in there.
- When the souffle has risen, turn the oven off and open the door but leave the souffle there to rest for a few minutes.
- When everyone is seated at the table and ready to eat, move the souffle to the table on a hotpad. Slice the top of the souffle with a serrated knife (like serving a pie wedge) and gently scoop out the souffle on to dinner plates. The idea is to treat the souffle very gently while serving in order not to cause it to fall anymore than it has to. I’ve made souffles before but this one turned out to be the most gorgeous one perhaps due to the graceful fluted porcelain baking dish that I used for the first time. It tasted pretty good too! Bon Appetit!