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Spinach and Gruyère Soufflé

Serves 8.

Note: Soufflés aren’t hard; they simply require that you beat the egg whites to lofty peaks, then fold them in. An electric mixer or stand mixer is best for this, although you can do it by hand if you have a strong arm. To fold, plop the beaten egg whites on top of the béchamel, sink your spatula into the center, and then pull it toward you along the bottom and up the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat, moving the spatula in a series of circles to mix the egg whites in gently, without deflating them. When there are just few wispy trails of egg white visible, portion into your baking dishes. From Robin Asbell.

• 7 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

• 2 oz. aged Gruyère, finely shredded, divided

• 8 oz. baby spinach, washed and dried

• 2 c. milk, warmed

• 6 tbsp. flour

• 1/2 tsp. salt, plus 1 pinch, divided

• 1/2 tsp. white pepper

• 1 pinch nutmeg

• 6 eggs

Directions

Put on a large pot of water to boil for the spinach. Using 1 tablespoon butter, grease 6 (1-cup) ramekins or a 6-cup soufflé dish. Use 3 tablespoons Gruyère to cover the sides of the dishes; reserve the remaining cheese. Place the ramekins or dish on a sheet pan and chill for at least 10 minutes. Drop the spinach in boiling water, stir for 1 minute to wilt, drain and wring out completely, then mince. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To make béchamel sauce: Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat and sprinkle in flour, whisking to make a smooth paste. Cook, whisking, over low heat for a few minutes, then take off the heat for a minute.

Bring the milk to a boil, and whisk a couple tablespoons of the hot milk into the butter and flour roux, return the pan to the heat, then whisk in the remaining milk. Cook, whisking, until smooth and bubbling. Whisk in the remaining Gruyère cheese and stir until smooth. Let cool, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, white pepper and nutmeg.

Separate the eggs. With a wooden spoon, beat each yolk into the cooled béchamel. Stir in spinach. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, using an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Fold a dollop of whites into the béchamel mixture, then fold in the rest of the whites thoroughly.

Fill each ramekin, or the large soufflé dish, to the top. Dip your finger in water and then run your finger around the edge to make an indentation in the eggs. This will create a “cap” when baked.

Place on the dish(es) on a sheet pan and bake 15 minutes, then lower heat to 375 degrees and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. (If using the large soufflé dish, bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes.) When done, the soufflés will be puffed and deeply golden on top, and a paring knife inserted in the center will come out with no runny egg on it. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 230 Fat 17 g Sodium 320 mg

Carbohydrates 10 g Saturated fat 9 g Total sugars 4 g

Protein 11 g Cholesterol 180 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, ½ carb, 1 medium-fat protein, 2½ fat.