Friday, July 19, 2013

Spinach and Cheddar Souffle

On Sunday of last weekend, I decided to make a Spinach & Cheddar Soufflé.  I love cheese soufflé.  I could eat it everyday.  A nice slice of cheese soufflé made with gruyere, fresh from the oven and a little caviar and crème fraiche and some mini blinis on the side?  My dears, that is heaven on earth.  I made a crab soufflé a couple of years ago using fresh crab and gruyere.  It was, well, . . . not my favorite.  It did not rise like a plain cheese soufflé rises.  I did not care for the taste of the crab and the cheese together prepared as a soufflé.  Maybe as a casserole with additional ingredients.  But not together in a cheese soufflé.  That behind me, I wanted to try this Spinach & Cheddar recipe.  It was good.  But again, as with the crab, it did not send me over the moon.  It did not rise – at all.  The egg white were very fluffy and I was careful not to deflate them when I mixed in the cheese and spinach.  But, in the end, I was a bit disappointed.  I think I need to just stick with cheese soufflés.  Choose which soft cheese I like best, and just make good old cheese soufflé.  I am going to share with you the preparation of this Spinach and Cheese Soufflé and let you be the judge of whether or not you would like to try it.  I hope you do and I hope you have better luck with it than I did.  If you make it, and you do have good luck, please email me and let me know.

I started out by finding my stainless steel storage bowls.  These are handy to use to hold the ingredients for your soufflé.  One for cream of tartar, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, butter, etc.

Here you see them filled with various ingredients and the salt and pepper mills ready to get started.

I used regular dinking glasses to hold the egg yolks and egg whites until ready to incorporate everything together.  Salt and pepper on the little white plate.  One half cup of cheddar cheese in the measuring cup.  And one box of frozen spinach, thawed and thoroughly squeezed to remove as much water as possible.

Now that is a bowl full of perfectly beaten egg whites for a soufflé.  You want stiff, glossy peaks.  I don’t know if the picture really shows that off, but I had stiff, glossy peaks.  The Cream of Tartar helps with this.  Plus I like for the bowl I am mixing them in to be cold.  That helps with the volume also.

And here we are folding  the cheese and spinach mixture into the egg whites.  Don’t over stir.  You really are not stirring but rather using a down under/up over move to gently incorporate the two mixtures together.  If you vigorously stirred this, you would deflate the egg whites and then you would have a big spinach and cheese pancake because it would just flatten out.

Next step, butter and thoroughly coat the inside of your soufflé dish with parmesan cheese.  This bowl is perfectly coated.

Into the dish.  Ready for the oven.  Oven is heated to 400 degrees, then turned down to 375 just before putting in the soufflé.

And this is what emerges from the oven some 30 minutes later.  It is quite beautiful.

And this is a cross section on the soufflé once is had cooled and fallen.

Maybe I should not be so hard on this recipe.  It actually was very tasty.  It just was not a soufflé in the way that I have come to know and expect soufflés.  So I would make it again, but with the expectation that it will be more dense than a traditional soufflé.
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