Friday, September 16, 2011

A trusty sidekick, I mean, dish

Every cook probably has a few safety nets in their repertoire: the recipe that’s easy and reliable and always welcome around the table, like a close friend you can always count on when you’re in a pinch.

If you have frozen spinach in your freezer, a few eggs, milk, mayo and parmesan, you can make this when those unexpected guests show up and don’t seem to be leaving as dinner gets closer or keep it for special guests. I do both.

This one has been in our family for years and almost everyone can make it. As a bonus, it’s a way to get spinach into some people who might otherwise resist. Okay, it’s spinach and it's nice and garlicky, so the claim doesn’t always extend to small children.

Of all my dishes, this is the recipe I am asked for most often. It looks good on the table, on the plate and reheats beautifully. Have I mentioned it’s easy and inexpensive?

Because you are all my friends, I will spare you the photos of a giant lump of cooked spinach.

Well, then, Ladies and Gents, I give you Spinach Soufflé (aka Spinach Casserole)

Spinach Soufflé

I always double this and sometimes triple it

2 packages frozen spinach, cooked and drained

1 ½ tablespoons butter

1 ½ tablespoons flour

½ cup milk

½ cup mayonnaise

1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated

3 eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper - or to taste

Preheat over to 425.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook two minutes without browning. Add milk and mayo and stir. Heat until thickened.

Add spinach, garlic and parmesan and stir.

Add eggs and beat until well mixed.

Pour into a greased baking dish and bake at 425 until puffed and brown. About 45 minutes.

This recipe doubles and triples nicely and reheats well too.

By strange coincidence, this dish is often found at Maffini gatherings although the MacPhees (from my Camilla MacPhee mysteries) claim to have invented it. But then, they’re like that.

Someday, I'd like to teach Charlotte Adams to make it, if she could just stop investigating long enough. Once she gets over The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder maybe.

Pop over to my website and sign up for the newsletter: book news, recipes and need I say, prizes?


  1. I love having go-to meals in case of emergencies! Thanks for sharing your recipe for spinach souffle, MJ! Maybe Charlotte will slow down long enough for you to share the recipe with her. :)

  2. Thanks, Elizabeth/Riley! Maybe she will, but she'll probably never cook it.

  3. This recipe is one for my keeper file. Spinach, garlic, and parm are a delicious combo, but I'm especially intrigued by the use of mayo. I think that's a brilliant addition for favor and moisture, and I've never tried that in a soufflé like this.

    Gracie to you and the family of that clever lady, Camilla MacPhee. (Perhaps Charlotte should take a drive north for a meal or two -- a fictional cross-over? Hmmmm...)

    I hope you're having a great time at B'Con, MJ!

    ~ Cleo

  4. Thanks, Cleo! Having a great time. Avery and Sheila are also here and many many old friends - readers and writers alike. Such a wonderful community, as is MLK!

  5. Spinach souffle is one of my favorite dishes. I have never made it with mayo, though, so this is on my must make list! Can't wait!

    Have wonderful time at Bouchercon!

    ~ Krista

  6. Grazie, MJ! -- which is what I meant to type above! (Don't know whether you caught my misspelling, but I do apologize.) My sister is Gracie, named for my grandmother Graziella. There's a Freudian typo in there somewhere! (And congrats to Krista for making the NY Times list with her new release. Wish I could toast her at your B'Con dinner! Have fun!)

    ~ Cleo

  7. Mary Jane,
    I just finished Charlotte's latest adventure and it was terrific!!!
    This recipe is going into the Chez Phillipe rotation posthaste...meaning tomorrow evening!! Thanks and enjoy your time at Bouchercon :-)

  8. I love spinach. LOVE it! And I do have all of those ingredients in my kitchen. Unfortunately the Mister does not love spinach (or even like it), so I seldom make such things. So, I'll save this recipe for company, because unless I eat the entire bowl myself (not that I couldn't), I'd better wait until I have some help. Thanks for this, it looks delicious.

  9. Thanks, Krista! Let me know if and when. Congrats on making the New York Times list! I am so proud of you!

    Cleo, I did wonder about Gracie! Grazie to you right back.

  10. Nancy, thanks! Glad you liked The Busy Woman and I hope this recipe delivers when you make it.

  11. Pattie! I hope you get your date with the spinach. I love it too, but not everyone shares this passion.