In The Kitchen: Parmesan Roasted Tomatoes and Spinach Soufflé
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The following recipes are perfect side dishes for grilling.
Parmesan Roasted Tomatoes
4 roma tomatoes, cut in half length wise (about one tomato, 2 halves per person)
¼ cup breadcrumbs (Japanese panko is especially good)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (dry Asiago, Romano or any hard cheese also are good)
2 T olive oil (does not have to be extra virgin)
Salt/pepper, best if freshly ground
1-2 tsp favorite herb, fresh is better, minced: rosemary, oregano, basil or thyme work well
1 tsp parsley, fresh, chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Oil or spray aluminum oil covered baking sheet.
2. Toss tomatoes with minimal amount of oil and salt on prepared pan; flip tomatoes so they are cut-side up.
3. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, herb of choice, salt, pepper, parsley and olive oil until breadcrumbs are moistened. Gently spread mixture over cut tomatoes.
4. Bake until breadcrumbs are golden and tomatoes are softened, about 15 minutes. For extra crunchy topping, run tomatoes under broiler until deeper color.
Virtual Spinach Soufflé
1 (12-ounce) package fresh baby spinach, rough chop (or frozen leaf spinach, thawed and wrung out well)
1 12-ounce container ricotta cheese
Generous 1/2 cup (2-3 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (any hard grated cheese: cheddar, asiago, Romano ok, but Parmigiano-Reggiano is superior)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tsp ground nutmeg (there is an amazing flavor difference if freshly grated)
4 large eggs
1. Preheat oven 400˚
2. Spray soufflé dish, casserole dish or individual ramekins with cooking spray.
3. In food processor or mixer, combine cream cheese, ricotta and eggs.
4. Add spinach until blended.
5. Add cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
6. Spoon into prepared bowls/dishes. That’s it. How easy!
7. (optional) Place filled bowls/dishes in larger baking dish, such as 9×13 brownie pan. Transfer to oven and pour hot water around filled bowls/dishes half up sides. This water bath is technically called a “bain marie” and it is optional. If you don’t water bath the soufflé, it will be a bit thicker around the bottom and edges, but still delicious.
8. When soufflé is in oven, reduce temperature to 325˚ Bake approximately 20-25 minutes. Soufflé will puff up, starting from the sides and gradually toward the middle. When puffy and brown, remove from oven. Serve hot; soufflé will sink down; or cool, chill and serve cold in wedges.
Susan Delbert joined The Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club as Executive Chef after working at The Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. as Sous Chef for several years. Delbert has worked in several Washington restaurants, including The Oval Room, BeDuCi in Dupont Circle and Gerard’s Place. She started her culinary career as a Front of the House Maitre d’ in Clyde’s of Chevy Chase. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where she graduated at the top of her class. She was an invited participant in an Italian regional cooking program sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission.
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