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Want to impress? Bake a souffle! Here are the secrets to baking souffles. Make a bechamel sauce (white sauce), flavored with onion, salt, pepper, paprika, and freshly-grated nutmeg. Separate the eggs so that there is no trace of egg yolk (or fat) in the egg whites. Make the souffle base first (the sauce can be made ahead of time), but don’t whip the egg whites until you are ready to bake. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, gently fold in the base (better to leave streaks of egg white than to overmix and have the souffle deflate), and immediately bake the souffle.

To prepare the spinach, remove the stems and wash the spinach. Bring a pot of water to a boil and heavily salt the water. Cook the spinach in the water for about 5 seconds — until just wilted and then immediately remove the spinach and chill in an ice water bath. Drain. Then squeeze the spinach dry by pressing in a potato ricer. Chop the spinach. One pound of raw spinach will yield one cup of cooked, chopped spinach.

Souffles wait for no one, so the diners should anticipate the souffle — as shown in the picture!

Spinach-Goat Cheese Souffle

  • 3 cups cleaned, stemmed, blanched, squeezed, chopped fresh spinach (start with 3 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 eggs, separated

Melt the butter and sauté the onion until clear, about 5 minutes. Add the flour to make a paste, then add the milk. Season with salt and peppers and nutmeg and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and add the cheese and egg yolks. Fold in the spinach. Whip the egg whites until stiff and fold into the spinach mixture. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2-quart souffle dish and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Eat immediately!