After making pasta in Italy with eggs that had yolks the color of oranges, I decided to spring for a dozen of free range eggs at the farmers’ market. I’ve purchased them before and yes, they are tastier and fresher than the grocery store variety. I suppose I don’t buy them all the time because they do cost about twice as much. At any rate, I bought the better eggs and decided I needed to feature them in a dish, rather than just using them in baking.
I’m not even going to tell you what J. said when I announced that I was making a souffle for dinner. He’s not of the belief that it’s okay to serve eggs for the evening meal. I told him it was better than having no dinner, which I had suggested earlier in the day. I haven’t made a souffle in a while, but I knew that once you had your ingredients prepped, it was merely a matter of making a sauce, whipping some egg whites, folding and baking. Well, and timing. The timing is crucial. A souffle waits for no man and when it comes out of the oven, you better be ready to sit down and eat.
So here is where I apologize for the poor photo. The sun was setting, the natural light was waning and the souffle was ready to serve and so I snapped a photo without any care or preparation and there it is. Originally I had planned on a cheese souffle, but in my quest to make it a little more interesting to a man who doesn’t want eggs for dinner, I added some spinach. I used two recipes-one from Molly Wizenberg who makes everything she cooks seem easy and the other from Ina Garten, who needs no introduction.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk, heated until steaming
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 extra-large egg yolks
5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3/4 cup (packed) grated aged cheddar cheese
Position the rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Butter a 6 cup souffle dish and add Parmesan cheese. Tilt the dish to coat the bottom and the sides.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to the heat, whisking constantly until thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add nutmeg, paprika and salt. Add egg yolks one at a time. Stir in the cheese and the spinach and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Cool to lukewarm.
Put the egg whites and a pinch of salt into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until stiff, but not dry. Whisk one quarter of whites into souffle base to lighten. Then gradually fold in the rest of the whites. Transfer the batter to the prepared dish.
Place the dish in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 375 degrees. Bake until souffle is puffed and golden on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes. Do not open the door to the oven during the first 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves:2-3 as main course
Guess who liked his dinner?