Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cheese and Spinach Soufflé

This basic soufflé recipe can be used for a variety of cheese and vegetable combinations. First, the basic recipe, then some suggestions for variations on the theme.


5 eggs (yolks and whites to be separated)
½ cup mayonnaise
4 tbsp. flour (rice flour works just as well as wheat if you can’t eat gluten)
½ tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ c. finely diced onion or 2 tsp. onion powder
1 large crushed garlic clove or 1 tsp. garlic powder
1½ cups grated cheddar cheese
9 oz. fresh spinach
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. tarragon
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. black pepper
dusting of paprika
salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 325°. Heat the olive oil in a skillet until frying-hot then add the onion. Reduce the heat and gently sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat down low and add the spinach. If you use fresh basil, tarragon, and/or parsley, add that with the spinach. Cover the skillet and steam the spinach until it wilts.

Separate the yolks and whites. Place the whites into a mixing bowl by themselves to be used shortly. Note that this recipe only works if the eggs are cold because the egg whites will need to be beaten stiff. The yolks go into a mixing bowl to be blended with the other ingredients.

Combine the egg yolks, mayonnaise, flour, baking powder, cheese, and herbs in a mixing bowl. Press all liquid out of the vegetables, then add them to the egg yolk mixture. Blend all the ingredients well.

Shake a little salt into the egg whites as this will help them beat up fluffy. Beat them on high until they are stiff and stand in peaks when you lift the beaters out. Grease a deep eight-inch round casserole dish and then put the egg whites into it. Add the mixture of ingredients and fold them gently into the egg whites, blending all together in a soapy sort of soup. Dust the top with paprika.

Bake for 45 minutes at 325°. Check to be sure the soufflé is done by inserting a knife in the middle. It should come out pretty clean with no gooey mixture stuck to it. Bake for longer if the soufflé is not done. You have to serve the soufflé immediately if you want it to be admired for its fluffy appearance because it will drop swiftly, but it will still taste delicious after it drops.

Here are some suggestions for other terrific combinations for this soufflé. Try using chopped marinated artichoke hearts and jack or fontina cheese. Sun-dried tomatoes are a great addition to any combination. Small cherry tomatoes (about a handful) are sweet and tasty. Be sure to pierce each with a knife before adding to the mixture. Mushrooms are a little heavy for a soufflé, but if you chop them fine and sauté them, you can do a lovely mushroom and Swiss cheese version. Asparagus and smoked cheddar is a good combo too, just chop and sauté the asparagus beforehand. Any vegetable that you use should be drained of any water resulting from cooking. If the soufflé gets too wet, it won’t fluff up properly.

Note that these soufflés go well with the roasted potato medley for a fine dinner.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

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