I’ve always avoided making souffles telling myself that they were too complicated. Somewhere in the back of my mind was a voice telling me how easily they can go wrong.
I had a late lunch today and wanted something light for dinner. A picture of a light fluffy corn souffle entered into my head. Before I had a chance to dismiss it as a misplaced thought, another part of my brain thought about it for a second wondering how hard could it be?. After all, it’s been decades since I’ve ruined a sponge cake (I think I was about 10), and how hard could folding some whipped egg whites into a bechamel be?
As it turns out, souffles are actually quite forgiving. For this one, I make the bechamel with buttermilk which makes the cheddar taste extra sharp. Together with the corn and shallots it makes for a pot of fluffy goodness that goes nicely with a salad. Though delightful on its own, in retrospect I think this would have gone well with a pureed fresh tomato, or maybe some pico de gallo.
Now that I know how simple these are, my mind is buzzing with ideas. Tomato basil mozzarella, curried cauliflower, apple brie honey… and those are just the savory ones! For desert I’m thinking chestnut maple, coconut lime, or mexican chocolate!
3 eggs separated
1 Tbs shallots minced
1 Tbs good quality olive oil
3 Tbs flour
3/4 C buttermilk (or milk if you want it less “sharp”)
1/2 C creamed corn
1/4 C freshly grated parmesan
1/2 C freshly grated aged cheddar
1 Tbs chives chopped
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter 6 ramekins, it’s important that you paint a thick layer of butter on every part of the ramekin (especially the sides) because if the souffle starts sticking, your souffle will turn out lopsided. Put the ramekins in a baking dish with high sides.
Separate the eggs whites into the bowl of an electric mixer and put the egg yolks into a large bowl. It’s important that you don’t get any egg yolk into the whites as it will not fluff if there is any yolk or oil in it.
In a saucepan, fry the shallots in the olive oil until lightly browned. Add the flour and cook for another minute or two. Turn down to low and whisk the buttermilk into the roux and get all the lumps out. Add the creamed corn and cook until it thickens.
Pour the bechamel into the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk together. Add the cheese, chives, then salt and pepper to taste.
Boil some water.
In a clean, dry bowl whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form. Put a third of the egg whites into the other bowl and use a silicon spatula to gently fold it to combine. Repeat twice more until it’s all well combined.
Spoon this mixture into the ramekins, then flatten off the tops. Pour the boiling water into the baking dish around the ramekins, then careful put the dish into the oven. Tempting as it may be, do not open the oven until they are done. The souffle is done when they’ve risen and the tops are browned (about 15-20 minutes).