Spinach Souffle

This delicate souffle is cooked in a bain marie or deep roasting tin, which gives a very moist result. However, if you wish the souffle mixture to be crisper on the outside, just place the souffle dish on the oven shelf and cook the souffle in the usual way, reducing the cooking time given here by

10 minutes. Serve Spinach Souffle as a delightful vegetarian meal, accompanied by crusty bread and butter.

2 oz. plus

1 tablespoon butter

1 oz. fresh breadcrumbs

1 small onion, finely chopped

10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed, drained and finely chopped

1 oz. flour

8 fl. oz. milk

3 eggs, separated

1 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to warm 325 GF (Gas Mark 3, 170°C). With the tablespoon of butter, lightly grease a 2-pint souffle dish.

Dust the inside of the dish with the breadcrumbs, tipping and rotating the dish to coat the inside thoroughly and discarding any excess. Set aside.

In a medium-sized frying-pan, melt half the remaining butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until it is soft and translucent but not brown.

Add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the spinach begins to stick to the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.

In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, remove the pan from the heat and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat. Keep warm.

Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and add

2 tablespoons of the sauce. Whisk them together with a kitchen fork. Very gradually and carefully pour the egg mixture into the sauce, stirring constantly. Stir in the cheese, the spinach mixture, the salt, pepper and nutmeg and set aside to cool FOR 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, using a wire whisk or rotary beater, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

With a large metal spoon, stir a little of the egg whites into the sauce and carefully fold in the remaining beaten egg whites.

Pour the spinach mixture into the prepared dish.

Place the dish in a bain marie or deep roasting tin and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish.

Place the bain marie or tin in the oven and bake for 1 hour or until the souffle is well risen and firm to the touch, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the bain marie or tin from the oven and the dish from the bain marie or tin.

Wipe the base of the dish and serve immediately.

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