- 1 red capsicum, quartered, seeds and membrane removed
- 400 g baby spinach leaves
- 9 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, cut into quarters
- 100 g coarsely grated Gruyère (see Note)
- 100 g finely grated parmesan
- chervil sprigs, to serve
- 500 ml (2 cups) milk
- 300 ml pouring cream
- 100 g butter, chopped
- 100 g (⅔ cup) plain flour
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need 6 x 300 ml ramekins for this recipe.
DRINK Larmandier Bernier Brut Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne, France ($90)
Place capsicum on a small oven tray under a grill on high heat and roast for 15 minutes or until skin is blistered. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Meanwhile, place spinach in a colander set over the sink. Pour boiling water over spinach until wilted, then refresh in cold water. Transfer spinach to a clean Chux cloth or tea towel and squeeze out any excess liquid.
To make béchamel, warm through milk and cream in a saucepan over low heat. Set aside. Place butter in another pan over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes or until foaming. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until combined but not coloured. Remove pan from heat and gradually add milk mixture, whisking until smooth. Return to medium–low heat and cook, stirring, for a further 10 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 200°C. When cool enough to handle, peel capsicum, discarding skin, and cut into 5mm strips. Divide egg quarters, spinach and capsicum among 6 greased ramekins. Pour over béchamel, then sprinkle over cheeses. Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are golden and bubbling. Serve with chervil.
• Gruyère is a good melting cheese available from delis and supermarkets.
Photography by John Reyment. Drinks suggestions by Dan Coward.