I enjoy the aroma of food cooking nearly as much as eating it. It's hard to beat the smell of a Zuni chicken roasting in the oven (it smells like caramel corn, I swear), but tonight came pretty damn close. You see, I made the savory corn souffle that's pictured below, all fluffy, creamy, steamy, dreamy. The smell wafting through my little house is incredible right now...aaah...and has hypnotized me to share the recipe w/ you cooking hounds.
First, if you've never made a souffle, fear not. I don't understand why it has a fussy reputation. It's quite simple, and I haven't made a souffle in years. If you don't have a proper souffle dish, fear not. I don't either. I used an 8" springform pan.
Now that excuses are set aside, let me give you the original recipe that comes from Saveur (July/Aug 96). The recipe was provided by Cafe Jacqueline in SF, famous for their souffles. I've made this exact recipe before, and it's fantastic; however, I made modifications this time based on what I had on hand and increased amounts by 1/3-1/2 (except for fat) to fit the larger pan. I'll note those modifications in parentheses.
Serves 2 generously; my version serves 3-4
5 TB butter, unsalted
3/4 c. grated gruyere (I used 1/4 c. parmesan; 1/3 c. goat cheese crumbles)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. fresh corn kernels (I used 1.5 c. frozen organic corn)
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced (I used 1/2 tsp. madras curry powder)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper (I used black)
2.5 TB flour (I used 3 TB)
3/4 c. warm milk (I used 1 c.)
3 eggs, separated, at room temp. (I used about 4 yolks and 6 whites)
1. Preheat oven to 450F. Butter souffle dish (6.5"W X 2.5"H) or springform pan. Sprinkle w/ 1/4 c. gruyere or parmesan.
2. Melt 2 TB butter in skillet over med. heat. Saute garlic til fragrant, then add corn and ginger (or curry powder). Stir til corn softens, about 2-4 min. Remove from heat and season w/ S&P.
3. Melt 2 TB butter over med. heat. Add flour and stir constantly w/ wooden spoon for about 2 min. but don't brown. Remove from heat and whisk in half of milk. Return to heat and add rest of milk. Stir constantly til sauce gets very thick, about 2 min. Season w/ S&P, transfer to large bowl, and whisk in egg yolks. Make sure to season generously, since this will also flavor egg whites.
4. Beat egg whites in nonreactive bowl til stiff peaks. Add one scoop of whites to yolk mixture to lighten. Then slowly fold yolk mixture into whites, being careful to not deflate. Also sprinkle on corn and remaining cheese and incorporate. Do not overmix.
5. Spoon into souffle dish or springform. Make sure oven rack is low enough (I baked in lower third). Bake til souffle is browned on top, 18-22 min. Serve immediately. Mine could have gone darker on top, but it was still good and I don't like the insides to dry out.
Nothing smells much better than this heavenly combo of bechamel, butter, eggs, cheese, corn, and curry. I love corn and curry together and thought the subtle tang from the mild goat cheese had a nice cooling effect. Fresh corn would have been better, but frozen ensures that I can make this year round. Now that I'm on a souffle kick, what are your favorite SAVORY combinations (not really interested in sweets)?
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