Spinach Souffle
by Jes Mostek
serves: 6
  This souffle takes spinach to a new and delicious level. Even people who don't like spinach rave about this! Making a souffle sounds intimidating, but there's nothing all that complicated about it! If you know how to use an electric mixer, you can easily make a souffle.
  3 T.   butter
  3 T.   flour
  1 c.   whole milk
  1/2 tsp.   salt
  1/4 tsp.   black pepper
  1/4 tsp.   nutmeg
  1 (10 oz.) pkg   frozen or fresh spinach
  1/2 c.   grated Parmesan
  4 lg.   egg yolks
  6 lg.   egg whites
  1/4 tsp.   cream of tartar
  Crack and separate the eggs. Allow to sit on the counter-top while you prep the rest of the recipe so the eggs can come to room temperature. Thaw and thoroughly drain frozen spinach. For fresher taste, use 3 c. packed and chopped fresh spinach (for a single, 6-serving recipe).

Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 1 1/2-quart souffle dish.

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the milk all at once and whisk to blend. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook until the sauce thickens, a minute or so.

Add the spinach to the hot bechamel (butter-flour) sauce and stir until combined (if you're using fresh spinach, cook until it wilts, about 3 minutes). Remove mixture from heat, and transfer to a large, heat-safe bowl. In a small bowl, beat together egg yolks and cheese. Whisk the yolk-cheese mixture into the hot bachamel-spinach sauce. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower middle of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat with an electric mixer until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until the whites form soft and shiny peaks. Try not to overbeat, or the whites will be stiff and dry.

Stir one-quarter of the egg whites into the spinach base to lighten the mixture. Quickly fold in the remaining whites. Don't worry if the whites are not evenly distributed: it is better to have some streaks rather than deflate the egg whites.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place on a baking tray in the oven and cook until the souffle has puffed and risen 1 to 2 inches above the rim of the dish, 25 to 35 minutes. When a souffle is cooked, you can generally tell because the aroma of it permeates the room. The souffle should still be moist in the center but firm around the edges. Avoid the temptation of opening the oven to check on it, as you will lose the heat and the souffle may fall. Serve immediately.