Meatless Monday

Quarantine Recipe: Julia Child's Spinach Souffle

I am a cookbook nerd. I have way too many and use them way too infrequently. Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a great read, but one I rarely cook out of. I have a hard copy and a PDF. I have carried this book around for about 25 years and have only cooked three or four recipes out of it, this is one of them. I found both volumes at a little Italian deli in Pueblo, Colorado; I used to stop at this deli for Lasagna or Stuffed Shells to take home for dinner.

Souffles are wonderful things. They move surprisingly quickly and take no special tools to serve; Just plunge a spoon down into the dish and scoop out what you want to serve! Put a simply dressed salad and a piece of bread beside it and you have a surprising meal. If you have a Meat and Potatoes kind of family, it may take some convincing for a recipe like this, but given the possibility of a meat shortage, it might be a handy one to keep around.

For this recipe you may use a Souffle Dish or a Pyrex dish.

Ingredients:

Butter for preparing the pan

About 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese for preparing pan

1 tbsp minced shallots (substitute sweet onions if unavailable)

1 tbsp butter

3/4 c chopped frozen spinach (I use a full box and squeeze dry with my potato ricer)

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

1 c milk

4 egg yolks

1/2 c grated gruyere cheese (may substitute Swiss, Cheddar, or your favorite melting cheese)

5 egg whites

Difficulty: Moderate. Shopping Needed for Average Household: None.

Pre-planning needed: None.

Prep Time: 15-20 Minutes, Cook Time: 23-30 Minutes

Yeild: 4 Servings

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees f. Butter a 6 cup souffle dish and dust it with  the grated cheese as if you were dusting a cake pan with flour; dump any excess cheese out of souffle dish into the swiss cheese. Set dish to the side. Measure out your remaining ingredients.

2.  Squeeze most of the water out of the thawed spinach with a couple paper towels or by squeezing by hand. Cook the shallots and 1 tbsp butter in a saute or frying pan on medium for 1 minute. Add the spinach and salt, stirring and breaking up the spinach until is very dry. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. n a saucepan, melt 2 1/2 tbsp butter. Stir in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour in milk. Beat with whisk until blended. Return to heat and stir with the whisk until the mixture is bubbling.  When it thickens, whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Remove the pan from the heat.

4.  Add the spinach to the egg/ flour base until completely mixed.

5. Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until stiff. Stir one-quarter of the egg whites and all but one tablespoon of the cheese into the souffle base. Gently fold he remaining whites into the base, using as few turns as possible to incorporate the two mixtures as completely as possible. Fold by working a rubber spatula all the way to the bottom and "fold" the mixture on top, turn the bowl one-quarter turn and repeat. Fold quickly and gently to deflate the whites as little as possible.

6.  Turn the souffle out into the prepared mold, run your thumb along the edge of the souflle dish to give the souffle a clean edge, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place into the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes. DO NOT open the oven during the first 20 minutes of cooking time. The Souffle is done when there is still a slight wobble in the center and the top is golden brown. For a less creamy souffle that will collapse less quickly, bake 3-4 minutes past the "wobbly center" stage.

Serve immediately.

This recipe is adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One, by Julia Child, Louisette Berthoulle and Simone Beck; Published by Alfred A. Knoph, 1961

Suggested sides: Make a quick salad of fresh spring greens with a classic French vinaigrette like this one.

To submit your own recipe, send it to news@emporianews.com. Recipes may be for any meal or any course. While you may include your own recommendations for side dishes and wine, please remember to include a brief introduction to the recipe (which I have left off of this first one). This paragraph or two can explain to readers where you first had the dish, or if it is a family tradition and a favorite of a certain family member. You may also relate any happy memories related to your recipe-is it your annual birthday meal? Reader submitted recipes will be credited to the reader, and you may include a photograph if you like. If your recipe is from a cookbook or website, please send the publication information for attribution.

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