Tuesday, March 24, 2009
When I was growing up we used to have cheese souffles on a fairly regular basis--not all the time, but they weren't uncommon, and they were always very good. A cheese souffle has all the same ingredients of scrambled eggs, but it is so much more elegant and light. Somewhere along the way we stopped having them, possibly when eggs fell out of favor or when we needed something on the table a bit faster. They do take some extra time, but they are super simple to prepare--essentially a white sauce with cheese and separated eggs--and the results are well worth it. Cheese Souffle (based on the recipe in Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking) 1 tsp unsalted butter 1 Tbs Parmesan 3 Tbs butter 3 Tbs flour 1 c hot milk salt and pepper pinch of nutmeg 4 eggs plus 1 egg white 3/4 c grated cheese (any combination) 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 2. Butter the inside of a 2 1/2 qt. souffle dish and coat with the 1 Tbs Parmesan. 3. In a saucepan, melt the 3 Tbs butter and then stir in the flour. Let cook for about two minutes, stirring occasionally so the mixture doesn't brown. Off the heat, pour in the hot milk and whisk til smooth. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Return the pan to the heat and cook for about 1 min., stirring constantly. The mixture will be quite thick. 4. Take the pan off the heat. Start separating the eggs, and quickly whisk the yolks into the sauce after each addition. Set aside. 5. Using a mixer, beat the five egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Add about a quarter of the egg whites to the sauce and stir in. Then stir in most of cheese, saving out about 1 Tbs for the top of the souffle. Carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites. 6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. 7. Place the souffle in the middle level of the oven, making sure there is plenty of space above the dish. Immediately lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees. 8. Do NOT open the oven for the first 20 min. Resist the urge. After 25-30 min., the souffle will have puffed up and the top will be lightly browned. Let cook for another 4-5 min. to firm up, and then serve immediately.