Friday, December 14, 2007

Spinach Onion and Cheese Souffle

Cooking is all about flavors, aroma, tastes, and a whole lot of imagination! It's great to experiment with different ingredients and imagine how they would pair with each other, whether they compliment one another, or result in a stark contrasting taste. Sometimes these culinary concoctions can go awry, but most of the times it's fun, and results into something that leaves a tasty impression. Luckily for us, there are some things that just "click together", like chocolate and cookies, pasta and bread, my husband and me:), or in this case, spinach and cheese!! You can hardly go wrong with Spinach and Cheese, so for my first souffle recipe, I decided to go for a safer bet. I added two of my favorite ingredients, garlic and onions, threw in a pinch of nutmeg, and we had a luscious, good-looking and healthy Spinach Onion and Cheese Souffle for our dinner. People do get intimidated sometimes at the thought of making a souffle or casserole recipe, including me, but it's not that tough, and actually tastes great!

Ingredients
1 bag (16 oz) frozen chopped spinach
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
4 cloves of garlic - minced
4 tbsp onion - finely chopped
salt and black pepper - to taste
1/4 tspn ground nutmeg (optional)
3 eggs - white and yolk separated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Method
Thaw and cook spinach in boiling water for at least 8-10 mins. Remove from water and let it drip off the water spinach in a colander; squeeze well to remove water content. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a casserole dish (or individual ramekins)with cooking spray and keep ready. Also separate the egg whites and egg yolks.

Heat butter and garlic in a saucepan over medium low heat. When butter has melted, add flour and stir until smooth and bubbling, and it turns just a little brown. Add salt and black pepper according to your taste. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. When the mixture is thick and boiling, remove from heat.

Turn off heat and stir in egg yolks, onion, spinach, cheese and sprinkle the nutmeg.

Beat only the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks. Stir a couple of spoonfuls into the spinach mixture. This is the crucial part; beat the egg whites more to allow them to fluff up the mixture when it goes into the oven. Very gently,preferably with rubber spatula, fold in remaining whites.

Now pour the batter into prepared dishes. The souffle is going to rise a lot, so make sure you leave enough room for it to expand, especially when you are using ramekins (just fill a little over half) Bake until souffle has risen and is browned on top, about 15 to 20 minutes for individual dishes (longer time for a larger casserole dish). Use a thin skewer or toothpick to check inside for moistness. It should be a little sticky and creamy at the center, but not uncooked.

The Spinach and Cheese Souffle is best enjoyed immediately after removing from the oven. Eat it just like that, or serve with your choice of a side sauce! (pic courtesy of ajc)

Tip: You can add your choice of other veggies like broccoli or potatoes with or instead of spinach. The basic recipe remains the same. This also tastes good with a Feta or Goat cheese variation instead of Parmesan if you have a taste for the formers.

Similar Recipes:
Spinach and Ricotta Cutlets
Vegetable Timbales

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