Wednesday, 4 July 2007
Recipe: Spinach Souffle
Souffles are yet another foodstuff with an unfair reputation for being complicated, and people have been frightened away from them in their droves! In practice, though, they are quick and easy to make, as well as being extremely versatile. One added benefit to making souffles is the fact that they use more egg whites than yolks, and so represent one more way of attacking the egg-white-mountain that forever lurks at the back of the fridge!
For two individual souffles:
Ingredients: 1 oz of Butter; 3/8 oz (or 21g) of Flour; 1/4 of a pint of Milk; Salt & Pepper; a generous pinch of Nutmeg; 2 Eggs; half a cup of cooked, chopped Spinach; half a cup of grated Parmesan.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Butter two individual ramekins, and fix round each one a collar made of aluminium foil, standing two inches above the rim of the ramekin, and fixed together with a metal paper-clip. Make sure the inside of the collar has also been thoroughly buttered before you put it in place.
2. Melt the Butter in a zimmertopf or double boiler. Add the Flour and stir to incorporate thoroughly, then add the milk, and beat gently to incorporate all the ingredients. Leave this to thicken, over medium heat, for five minutes or so, stirring with a whisk from time to time to ensure that the mixture thickens and cooks evenly.
3. Once the mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat and add Salt and Pepper to taste, along with the pinch of Nutmeg. Separate the Eggs - leaving the whites in a bowl for later - and beat the yolks into the mixture, one at a time. Then fold in the chopped Spinach and the grated Parmesan. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning, and adjust accordingly.
4. Beat the Egg Whites until they make 'soft peaks' - i.e. they are stiff enough that the beaters will leave firm marks in their wake, and the white will remain in a point when the beaters are withdrawn, but not so stiff that they have a crumbly quality.
5. Stir a large spoonful of the beaten Egg White into the Spinach mixture, to lighten it, then add the Spinach mixture to the bowl of beaten Egg White and fold the two together.
6. Carefully ladle the souffle mixture into the prepared ramekins, letting it come half an inch or so above the rim of the ramekin. Place the filled ramekins in a roasting tin, into which you should then pour boiling water to a level about half way up the outside of the ramekins.
7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for twenty minutes, by the end of which time the souffles will have risen to the height of their collars, and the tops should be nicely browned.
When removing the collars, have a small knife ready to loosen the souffle at any points where they might have stuck to the inside of the collars - it always happens, however thorough a job you might have made of buttering the collars!