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Spinach, Asparagus and Artichoke Heart Soufflés

Prep: 20 mins | Cook: 20 mins | Total: 40 mins | Servings:6

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A "Soufflé" is a puffy French "cake", made primarily from whipped egg whites. They are always served hot and with immediacy. They are frequently sweet desserts, but not always.

I had my first Soufflé as a kid, at the "City Hotel" in Columbia, California. It was a fancy restaurant in the center of a historic "Gold Rush" town. I'll never forget it, either. This was the kind of place that had "tableside service", meaning they would actually prepare part of the food ... right there at the table! As a child foodie, there was nothing more thrilling than watching our server whip up a classic Caesar Salad, right at the table, or catch a big pan of cherries on fire and pour it over ice cream. This place was special and still stands out in my mind as one of my first introductions to fine dining (circa 1983).

One of the dishes was a "Soufflé". It was so special, that you had to order it BEFORE your dinner. It was made FRESH. Before being ordered, it was merely ingredient parts, scattered around a kitchen. Once the order was placed, in my mind, an army of men and women ran around the kitchen collecting the magic powders and golden elixers required to create the delicate protein matrix holding in all the hot precarious air in place, as this steaming and quivering sweet cylindrical cloud would be carefully delivered from the kitchen. The server would set it down in front of me, where I could smell the caramelized edges of the cake. He'd poke a hole in the middle of it, and then pour a warmly flavored custard sauce directly into the center of my prize. Pure ecstasy!

Perhaps one of these days, I'll do a sweet soufflé. There is no reason I couldn't do one. They are mostly egg, afterall. (egg and hot air, like I imagine an irate Humpty Dumpty would be).

This one was originally designed as a somewhat fancy brunch idea; really any breakfast or brunch, where a little elegance is in order: Mother's Day, perhaps? Easter? Visiting family members? There are so many times in life where a beautiful green soufflé is needed. Now, you have one!

Note: Soufflé's all puff up when baking, but are notorious for "falling" or "deflating" once they are removed from the oven. In this case, they all fell. I suspect it's because of the vegetables within it, but I also may have jiggled them. If you were to remove the vegetables, sauté them, poke a hole in the soufflé after it was baked and pour them in, you're more likely to retain the tall and puffy shape. In all cases, it's still light, green, fluffy and yum.
Spinach, Asparagus and Artichoke Heart SoufflésSpinach, Asparagus and Artichoke Heart SoufflésSpinach, Asparagus and Artichoke Heart Soufflés

IngredientsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
1 bunch (227g)  asparagus, cut into thin rings45.7416.035.088.475.0803.39
3 whole (83.19g)  artichoke hearts in oil, drained and cut into 8 wedges, each997.052.678.614.204.41
4 cups (120g)  baby spinach, washed and stems removed27.53.353.534.242.4701.77
4 large (68g)  egg yolks215.4817.9110.922.52002.52
1 cup (100g)  parmesan cheese, grated43129384004
2 tbsp (14g)  coconut flour (Buy Now) 621.53.59603
1/2 cup (112g)  goats cheese407.533.624.643.36003.36
8 each (264g)  egg whites1280320000
1 tsp (5g)  lemon juice1.2700.44.0200.42
salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste0000000
Totals (of 6 Servings):1417.52105.44g120.34g40.64g17.77g0g22.87g
Per Serving:236.2517.57g20.06g6.77g2.96g0g3.81g *

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Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil, over high heat.
  3. While waiting for it to boil, grease 6 ramekins (I used 8 oz.). Divide your artichoke hearts and asparagus between the 6 ramekins and set aside.
  4. Gather a bowl with ice cubes and water, as well as a colander or straining device, of some kind. Once the water boils, add a nice amount of salt. Place your spinach into the boiling water and allow to swirl around for about 30 seconds. Remove the spinach with the strainer and immediately plunge it into the ice water. When it is thoroughly cooled, remove the spinach and squeeze it, by clinching it in your fists (or with a cloth), until all the water has been squeezed out. You should have a fairly small lump of cooked spinach.
  5. In a blender, combine your spinach, egg yolks, parmesan, coconut flour, goats cheese and a dash of salt and pepper. Blend this until a smooth puree has been formed. It should be BRIGHT green.
  6. In a separate mixing bowl, whip your egg whites and lemon juice, until firm peaks form (this is best with an electric mixer).
  7. Place your green goo into a mixing bowl, along with about 1/4 of your egg whites. Fold the two ingredients together. Then, add another 1/4 of your egg whites. Fold your green batter into these egg whites. Continue adding your egg whites and GENTLY folding the green goo into them, until you have a light and frothy green batter.
  8. Evenly divide your green batter between the 6 ramekins and place on a baking tray.
  9. Place tray in the oven. After about 1 minute, turn the heat down to 350 F.
  10. Bake for about 17 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately!

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Posted by DJ on Jan 07, 2014, 08:28 PM EST
Hi Q, honestly ... I'm going to guess no. I'm not certain, but soufflés are generally fragile. I'd be shocked if they held up through a freezing process. You could try it, but ... I'm pretty skeptical. If you do try it, please let us know how it turns out!
 
Posted by Q on Jan 07, 2014, 08:17 PM EST
Can these be frozen before baking?