Blue Cheese Florentine Souffle
Let’s talk about modifications. Probably one of the most interesting modifications was evidenced in the “convertible” Volkswagen I rented in Cabo San Lucas a few years back. A classic Beetle had had it’s hard top chopped off and replaced with a snap on canvas one which was to hang over a make shift roll bar. Gratefully we had no call to put the top up, as I am still doubtful that it would have actually worked. While the ingenious men who rented me this masterpiece in automotive engineering did not invent the Convertible Bug, their modification was unique in my eyes.
Currently in the land of recipe developers there is a great debate going on regarding “ownership” of recipes and whether or not when one “tweeks” a recipe it becomes their own. This discussion is occurring all over Twitter, probably thousands of blogs, FB, etc. Click here to see a well articulated article and about 60 odd ensuing comments.
Here is my take on this. While I do strive to create what I believe are original recipes, I am continually influenced by foods I experience in restaurants, at friend’s houses, by chefs on TV shows I watch like “Chopped” or “Iron Chef”, by recipes I was served growing up, etc, etc. With literally millions of recipes floating around in cyber-space there is no real way to recreate the wheel. Even if I believe a recipe is my own, someone else probably believes it is their recipe as well.
For me, I try and do the right thing and reference any recipes I may have reviewed or modified. If you see one of my recipes that I claim to be original and you think it is yours, please let me know. I assure you it is unintentional. For example: I did not invent the Frittata; I choose ingredients I happened to have on hand and assembled them without looking up a recipe. Has someone else probably made the identical Frittata? Absolutely!
Last night I modified the Blue Cheese Souffle I made last week by adding some sauteed baby spinach. Let me clearly state at this juncture that i did not invent the souffle, I was far from the first one to consider putting blue cheese in one and although I did not follow a recipe, I am certain that I am not the first to consider adding baby spinach to a blue cheese souffle. I was, however, far more confident that this would work than I was in the “convertible top” and I was right. It was even more delicious than the ones I baked last week for Pilar and me and we both thought those were good enough to each eat two of the little square ramequins. (Note the use of the word “little” and how it relieves any guilt!) While I did not invent the souffle, and I consulted probably 30 recipes before I assembled mine, I did not use any one recipe to make either the Blue Cheese Souffle or this Spinach and Blue Cheese Souffle.
Another modification I made with this recipe was to not beat the egg whites quite as stiffly as required for most souffle recipes and I was not as delicate as is suggested one should be when folding the beaten egg whites into the rest of the souffle. You see as good as the souffles I made were last week, I was unhappy with their rise, or should I say their lack luster rise? After investigating multiple forums, the consensus seems to be that when cooking at altitude one should not beat the egg whites quite as stiffly and not be too delicate when incorporating them into the rest of the ingredients. I did not figure all of this out by myself; Google helped me consult other altitude bakers who apparently understand far more science than I do.
The bottom line? Far from original what this recipe does offer is a delicious flavor, a meatless meal containing highly nutritional and anti-oxidant rich spinach, protein rich eggs and cheese and the entire meal (including a salad) can be produced in about an hour.
I served ours with a salad of baby spinach (yes, I know it is redundant, but since I am a Costco shopper we have a boat load of the delicious greens), tossed with raw turnip and red pepper julienne and a Champagne Vinaigrette.
|Fluffy, Light & Yummy: Spinach & Blue Cheese Souffle|
- 3 Tbsp Butter plus a little more for buttering the souffle dish
- 1-2 Tbsp Grated Parmesan to sprinkle over the buttered souffle dish
- 3 Tbsp Flour
- 1 cup 2% Organic Milk
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 5 Egg Whites
- 1 tsp each Ground Nutmeg and Smoked Paprika
- 1 cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
- 6 oz Baby Spinach
- EVO spray
- Preheat oven to 300F Convection or 325F regular
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with EVO.
- Add spinach to skillet and stir until it is wilted.
- Place wilted spinach in a blender and blend to a fine chop verging on a puree, but not quite there.
- Butter a small ceramic souffle dish and sprinkle with parmesan
- In a medium saucepan heat the butter over a low heat until melted.
- Add the flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, whisking to incorporate it into the butter and make a roux. Whisk for about 2 minutes.
- Take a tiny bit of the roux and mix it into the egg yolks. For some unknown reason this will prevent the yolks from cooking when you add them into the milk and roux.
- Add the milk to the roux and whisk until the milk begins to thicken.
- Add the egg yolks, paprika and nutmeg and remove from heat. If you choose to use S&P now would be the time. I did not as the cheese is salty.
- Whisk in the blue cheese and spinach.
- While the saucepan is cooling beat the egg whites with an electric mixer. If you are not cooking above sea level you want the egg whites to be very stiff and hold peaks. If you are cooking at altitude you still want them to be beaten well, but not quite as stiff as if you were at sea level.
- Fold the egg whites into the mixture in the saucepan in 3 different batches. Again, if you are at sea level do this very gently. If you are cooking at altitude be a little rougher but don’t whip the batter!
- Pour the souffle into the prepared dish and bake for 50 minutes