Friday, March 26, 2010

Cheese Souffle

Tonight, Nick and I had fresh asparagus and a cheese souffle for dinner. This is my very first, ever, cheese souffle. I used my grandmother Eleanor's glass baking dish. Not ideal for a souffle, as the sides slope outward, so my souffle did not rise significantly, but it did rise. Besides, I did not have a souffle dish small enough for my two person version. Ok, I will say that this recipe was supposed to serve four, but it served two. At our house, we eat a lot.

I turned to Julia Child for the recipe. I used the one in The Way to Cook. Here's the basic method.

Separate the eggs. I used five eggs. Make a thick bechamel sauce, with 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons flour, and 1 cup milk. Add a bit of salt, pepper, paprika, and nutmeg. Whip the egg whites to stiff peak. After the bechamel cools, add the egg yolks. Then, fold the egg whites into the bechamel mixture, along with the cheese. The recipe said to use 1 cup of shredded cheese, but I used about 3/4 cup. Put into your buttered, prepared dish, then, put a collar on the dish, so the souffle has something to rise against, once it elevates itself in your oven. The oven is preheated to 375 F. Bake for around 35 minutes. My souffle was a bit weepy in the center, but that was not a bad thing, I don't think. Reminiscent of an omelet baveuse.

I served the souffle with a Pinot Grigio, a salad, some whole wheat bread (I used the basic whole wheat bread recipe from this book), and asparagus from California. I bought the asparagus today at the Reading Terminal Market, in Center City Philadelphia. Wow. $1.49 for a beautiful huge bunch! How great is that price? I read earlier this week, I think in The Wall Street Journal, (which I read every morning while commuting on SEPTA) that Asparagus is coming in huge quantities, thus the price, which is a full dollar lower than I am used to paying. So right now, I'm congratulating myself, thinking we ate pretty well at Chez Barbara. AND there's more! It took only about an hour to make this dinner, and it was all 'from scratch'. (I left work 1/2 hour early tonight, which gave us a head start on the deal.)