This make-ahead recipe is challenging - but well worth the effort. It can be prepared two days in advance of a special-occasion dinner, so you won’t feel pressured or stressed. While it isn’t essential to prepare a sauce, this Spinach Roulade takes on gourmet proportions if you circle each slice with Roasted Sweet Red Pepper Sauce.
Spinach Roulade with Roasted Sweet Red Pepper Sauce:
¼ c. water
One 10-½ oz. (300 g) frozen, chopped spinach
1 tbsp. butter (no substitutes)
4 eggs, separated
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
4 tbsp. commercial, shake-on Parmesan cheese, divided
8 oz. (250 g) brick-style cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. light cream
1 roasted red bell pepper (“capsicum”), halved, stemmed, seeded, and blotted dry (see Note)
|Cook frozen, chopped spinach quickly ...|
Drain and cool in mesh sieve, squeezing excess water from spinach.
|After draining in sieve, cool and squeeze dry|
Add cooled spinach to wide-based blender with butter and 4 egg yolks. Purée, scraping down sides of blender goblet as necessary. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Chill 10-to-15 min.
|Purée at high speed in blender|
Preheat oven to 400 deg. F. In medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold in chilled spinach mixture until well combined.
|Spinach-egg white mixture will form Roulade base|
Pour into waxed paper-lined pan, smoothing top with wide spatula and spreading almost to edges of paper. Place Parmesan in shaker bottle with large holes or slots, shaking half over top of spinach mixture (see One Last Note). Bake 12 min., until sides of spinach are solid but centre remains slightly soft.
|Pour into jelly roll pan lined with waxed paper|
|Smooth surface with wide spatula|
|Sprinkle with half of Parmesan|
While mixture bakes, sprinkle remainder of Parmesan over a second, larger sheet of waxed paper.
|Shake Parmesan onto waxed paper|
Also while mixture is baking, beat together cream cheese and light cream until smooth. Set aside. One more thing: Slice roasted red pepper into lengthwise strips about ¼-in. wide. Set aside.
|Invert hot Roulade over paper|
sprinkled with Parmesan
|Peel waxed paper from top of Roulade|
The Roulade will be pliable, but surprisingly strong. Carefully insert small, sharp paring knife between the hot Roulade and corner edge of top baking paper, separating the two. Working the knife along the paper as needed, slowly peel back the paper. As you uncover the delicate, still-moist Roulade, lightly rest your hand on it to ensure it doesn’t break. Haste makes waste: Take your time with these steps.
|Ron spread the cream cheese to help me out|
Working parallel to short ends of Roulade, stagger rows of roasted red pepper over cream cheese. Staggering rows will allow distribution of pepper throughout sliced, finished Roulade.
|Stagger slivered, roasted red peppers|
parallel to narrow end of Roulade
|Roll spinach-cream cheese mixture from narrow end|
Starting at a narrow end, roll Roulade tightly before wrapping in cello paper and chilling several hours or overnight.
|Wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight|
To serve, unwrap and trim away uneven edges. Slice Roulade into ¾-in. pieces. Transfer to serving plates, ringing with Roasted Sweet Red Pepper Sauce, if desired. I spooned the sauce around the Roulade; next time I’ll use a squeeze bottle to apply a little less sauce.
|My taste-testers gave this high marks!|
Note: You may also use a jar of well-drained red pimientos, cut into strips and blotted dry. If you decide to make the optional Roasted Sweet Red Pepper Sauce to decorates the plate for this Roulade, be sure to roast two red peppers, using one for the strips in the Roulade, and one for the sauce.
To Prepare Roasted Sweet Red Pepper Sauce:
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
⅛ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. granulated sugar
¼ c. Chinese plum sauce
2-to-3 drops red food gel
|Brush seeded red peppers with olive oil|
Broil 20 min., skin-side up, until charred and blistered.
|This is the look you want. If you have gas stove burners,|
seeded peppers can also be roasted over an open flame
Transfer to well-sealed plastic container and allow to “sweat” 30 min., until almost - but not entirely - cool (see Note). Peel and discard the burned skin.
|Peel away skin ...|
In a regular or hand blender or small food chopper, buzz the skinned red pepper and its juices, the garlic clove, vinegar, salt, sugar, plum sauce, and red food gel until no chunks remain and mixture is perfectly smooth. Refrigerate until needed. This quantity yields about ½ c. sauce. Place Spinach Roulade onto appetizer plate, spooning Roasted Sweet Red Pepper Sauce around edges.