Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Souffle for Supper

I am  a fan of the savory souffle, although I make them very rarely due to the precise timing they require and the dire consequences if there is a delay in serving them.  Case in point:   One evening long ago, I was preparing a souffle for my newly wedded husband.  He called me from work, and said he would be leaving shortly and promised to be home in 30 minutes.  Perfect timing to cook the souffle, so I proceeded accordingly.  I whipped, folded, grated, and baked as the recipe required, and was ready to pull my masterpiece out of the oven just as hubby should have been walking through the door.  Well, the appointed hour came and went, my souffle became a sou-flop, and we ended up eating a very flat eggy mess later that evening.  An important client had phoned as my man tried to exit stage right and he couldn't get a message to me in time.  (Though I am reluctant to date myself, let's just say this was before the days of email, texts and cell phones, so he really couldn't have avoided the debacle.)

Should you have a more predictable schedule or refrain from cooking until the eaters are all under one roof, I heartily recommend this

Parmesan Polenta Souffle:

1 Tbsp butter
1 1/3 cups parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp cornmeal
4 egg yolks
salt/pepper to taste
5 egg whites

Heat oven to 425.

1.  Butter a 6 qt souffle dish and dust w/ 2 Tbsp cheese
2.  Bring 1 2/3 cups water to boil w/ olive oil  and sprinkle in corn meal in a slow steady stream stirring constantly.  Cook polenta on medium high for 10 minutes until mixture is thickened.  Remove from heat.
3.  Beat in egg yolks, and all but 1 Tbsp cheese.  Season w/ salt/pepper and set aside.
4.  Beat egg whites with pinch of salt on high until they hold peaks, are stiff but still creamy.  Gradually blend the egg whites w/ polenta mixture, folding gently.
5.  Spoon mixture into prepared pan, smooth top and sprinkle w/ remaining cheese.
6.  Bake 25-30 mins til souffle is puffed, brown and firm. Serve immediately.

I love this dish with a tomato salad like this tricolore from By George in Reading Terminal Market:

or baby arugula in a  balsamic vinaigrette:

Never one to shy away from bread, I heartily recommend a baguette or ciabatta to accompany this simple supper (or brunch if you are a bruncher, though I am not.)

Just make sure that your guests are in shouting distance when the souffle exits the oven.  My sou-flop was many years ago, but I am still scarred by the incident.

And speaking of eggs, we found this clip of screaming eggs rather amusing...kind of how I felt when my souffle collapsed. Enjoy!

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