Cheese Souffle

Submitted by John on Mon, 12/12/2011 - 03:33

A Cheese SouffleFor a long time I never attempted a souffle. I guess I was scared of this tempestuous diva. Eventually I got up the courage to try the dreaded souffle, and now it is a regular part of the repertoire.

A souffle is not hard. It is basically an egg yolk-thickened white sauce lightened up with some whipped egg whites. That's it. No magic.

A cheese Souffle of Southwind Farm Raclette with a caulflowerSome people will say you MUST serve the souffle as soon as it comes out of the oven or all is lost. You know, I wouldn't serve my guests a lot of things unless they are fresh from the oven. What makes a souffle any more magic than a fresh scone or biscuit? So once you get past that particular terror tactic, what's left?

Oh yeah, it might collapse in the oven, and then all is lost. I have vague recollections of '60s sitcoms featuring failed dinner parties on that count. Well I have made a lot of souffles by now. You would not call me a ballerina in the kitchen - the way I blunder about should guarantee that all is lost, but no - it comes out fine every time.

This is the sort of thing you can make when you get home from work if you start the white sauce when you get home and then start to relax with an appropriate after work libation. This is not because the white sauce is hard to make; it's just a matter of using cooking time to good advantage. While the sauce cooks, you make a Martini, or maybe a Monkey Gland (although some people are squeamish about involving glands of any kind in their souffle-making activities. Your call).

Here's the plan: Make a cup of white sauce any way you like and add 1/3 cup of some good cheese to make it a cheese sauce. Separate 4 eggs and whip up the whites. Put the yolks into the cheese sauce following the usual yolk-thickening procedure, then combine it all together gently, put it in a crumb-lined souffle dish, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Enjoy it with a light red wine and maybe a nice steamed cauliflower or a fillet of sole.