Wednesday, March 4, 2009


This recipe is adapted by James, from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", volume one and is the only way that Audrey ever eats eggs or a vegetable.

4 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoons minced shallots
1 bag baby spinach
3 Tablespoons flour
1 cup boiling milk
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch nutmeg
5 eggs
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup coarsely grated Swiss and/or Parmesan cheese (plus extra for preparing the mold)

Prepare a 6-cup soufflé mold: Butter the sides and bottom heavily, then roll grated Parmesan cheese around in it, coating lightly but evenly. Turn upside down and knock lightly on the table to dislodge extra cheese.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in the middle level.

Prepare the spinach: Cook the shallots for a moment in the butter. Add spinach and 1/4 tsp salt, and wilt. Remove from heat and chop roughly.

Prepare the soufflé sauce base: Melt 3 Tb butter in the saucepan. Stir in 3 Tb flour with a wooden spoon and cook over moderate heat until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from heat; when mixture has stopped bubbling pour in all the boiling milk at once. Beat vigorously with a wire whip until blended. Beat in ½ tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper and a pinch each of cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Return over moderately high heat and boil, stirring with the wire whip, for 1 minute. Sauce will be very thick.

Remove from heat. Immediately start to separate the eggs. One at a time, reserving the whites in a bowl, drop 4 yolks into the center of the hot sauce, beating it in with the wire whip. Stir in the spinach and correct the seasoning.

Add an extra egg white to the one in the bowl and beat with a pinch of salt and cream of tartar until stiff. Stir a big spoonful (about ¼ of the whites) into the sauce. Stir in all but 1 Tb of the cheese. Delicately fold in the rest of the egg whites, being careful not to over fold.

Turn the soufflé mixture into the prepared mold, which should be almost ¾ full. Tap bottom of mold lightly on the table, and smooth the surface of the soufflé with the flat of a knife. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Set on the middle rack of a preheated 400-degree oven and immediately turn the heat down to 375. Do not open oven door for 20 minutes.

When is it Done?
After 25 – 30 minutes of baking, the soufflé will have risen 2 – 3 inches over the rim of the mold and will have browned on top. If you like the center creamy, it may be served at this point, but it is fragile and will sink rapidly. It will collapse less readily if you allow it to cook 4 – 5 minutes more, until a thin knife plunged into the center through the side of the puff comes out clean. Eat immediately.

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