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Green Garlic and Spinach Souffle

Green Garlic and Spinach Souffle
Make this soufflé when the garlic is tender and subtle, in other words, when the leaves are still green. The bulb will be smaller than fully mature garlic, the skin will be moist rather than dry and papery, and inside, the cloves will be scarcely formed. As the garlic matures—and it does day by day—the skin becomes tougher and the sheathing that separates one clove from another develops. If that has happened to your garlic, just remove the tough parts and finely chop the rest. The delicate flavor will still be there.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
      cheese
  • 3/4 to 1 cup finely chopped green garlic (about
      5 heads)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 3/4 pound spinach, stemmed and rinsed
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 3/4 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 5 egg whites

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a 6-cup soufflé dish or gratin dish and dust with a few tablespoons of the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

In a small saucepan, combine the garlic, cream and thyme. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Set aside.

Place the spinach in a fry pan over medium-high heat, with water clinging to the leaves. Stir until wilted, 1 minute. Transfer the spinach to a colander and press out the moisture with the back of a large spoon. Chop finely.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and continue whisking until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the 1 tsp. salt. Stir in the goat cheese and the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir in the egg yolks, spinach and garlic mixture. Season with white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Pour the soufflé base on top and fold together until just blended. Scrape the mixture into the prepared dish, filling it no more than seven-eighths full. Bake until the soufflé is golden brown and set, 30 minutes for a soufflé dish, 25 minutes for a gratin dish. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma TASTE (February 2001), "A Good Egg," by Deborah Madison