Spinach Souffle

Our household is comprised of a not-uncommon mix of eaters: one die-hard carnivore (whose freezer was filled with big-game meats harvested by his family when I first met him), one pescetarian (and former calorie counter), and one fairly open-minded not-quite-three-year-old.  We all inhale Spinach Souffle happily.

My childhood was studded with weekly fights with my brother over the last serving of souffle, always baked in a round, white casserole dish.  We would gobble it up, trying to be the first to go back for seconds.

I asked my mom for the recipe (which she got from her friend Linda Daly, whose name I only know because of its frequency on the casserole recipes in my mom's collection.  Someday I must meet this Queen of the Casserole) when I got my first apartment in college and started collecting my own recipes.  Meem also got me my own Corningware French White 2 1/2 quart dish that Christmas, and I've been perfecting my souffle technique in it ever since.

In addition to its tastiness, it's truly a one-dish meal.  Even my usual propensity to veg-up our dinners is squelched by the full 10 ounces of spinach and entire can of diced tomatoes.  Once it goes into the oven, I can turn my attention to something else, as dinner is done.  However, it does take a good long time to cook, one hour in the oven, so planning ahead is crucial - you can't wait till the children (or husband) are whining and tugging on your pants legs to get this one started.

Spinach Souffle

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained (if you really love tomatoes you could even do a 28 oz can)
1 10 oz package frozen organic spinach, thawed, drained and well wrung out
3 beaten eggs
1 pint low-fat cottage cheese
3 T flour
1/4 c buttermilk (I never have this and always substitute an equal amount plain fat free yogurt with a splash of milk)
5 oz cubed sharp cheddar cheese (Tillamook Medium Cheddar is crucial for this recipe)
salt and pepper
1/8 c bread or cracker crumbs

Oven to 350.  Drain tomatoes and layer in the bottom of your souffle dish.  I have often wondered if this would taste the same from a different shape of dish but I am unwilling to experiment.

Thaw spinach in the microwave, then press into the bottom of the colander you just used for the tomatoes.  Wrap spinach up in about 8 paper towels and squeeze out all the water you can.  Get it really well wrung out.  If it's got too much water left in it, your souffle will be watery and that's nasty.  Set aside to cool.

Beat eggs in a medium bowl.  Add cottage cheese and flour, combine with a fork.  Add buttermilk or yogurt/milk mixture, salt and pepper, and cubed cheese and gently combine.  Fold in cooled spinach.

Pour into souffle dish.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs, and dot with butter.

Slide it on into the oven for one hour and clean up the kitchen with a glass of wine while you wait.  Bathe the kids!  Organize your sock drawer!  Do your taxes!

You can broil the top for a minute or two to get it extra browned and crunchy at the end.

Let it sit for a few minutes, then serve in all its one-dish simplicity.

She calls this "foofooflay" and usually reminds me that she doesn't like spinach before chowing down with gusto.

Thumbs up!

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