It’s all well and good to look chic in the kitchen, but a FashionFatale also needs a few simple but stylish recipes up her Miu Miu sleeve.
My mother-in-law recently came to stay so I begged her to show me the way of the soufflé; a perfectly chic little pouf of a thing that looks oh-so-glamorous yet tricky to concoct.
“Not so!” she said, such a truly wicked cook I would give up my Louboutins for even half of her culinary skill. She insisted the soufflé gets a bad wrap but is in fact one of the simplest things to rustle up, so long as you keep the following in mind…
- Always use the best quality ingredients possible
- Follow the recipe to-a-T. No straying or your pouf will go kaput!
- Run your finger along the inside circumference of the ramekin before sliding into the oven for a nicely shaped puff
- If you are serving to guests, do all the hard work prior so all you have to do last minute, is whip up your egg whites before sliding your soufflé into the oven.
So we did … and this is what we ate for lunch!
Rona’s Asparagus & Parmesan Soufflé
(adapted from The Silver Palette)
- 2 cups of asparagus tips and tender stems (approx 1 inch pieces)
- 4 tablespoons sweet butter (eg. Danish)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- 4 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Nutmeg to taste
- 5 egg whites
- Cream of tartar or lemon juice
Preheat oven to 425 degree F.
Bring a kettle of salted water to a boil, drop in the pieces of asparagus and cook until tender but not mushy. Drain and plunge into ice water. When cool, drain, and puree in a food processor.
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan and sauté the onion partially covered, until tender and lightly coloured (about 25 minutes). In a second saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.
Sprinkle the flour over the onion and butter stirring constantly, cook gently for 5 minutes.
Shut off heat and pour in the boiling milk all at once. Beat vigorously with a whisk as the mixture bubbles, and then set the pan over medium heat. Bring sauce to a boil, stirring constantly and let boil for 3 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in the egg yolks. Then stir in the asparagus puree, 1/3 cup parmesan and salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Butter a 1 litre soufflé dish (or 3 smaller ones) and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Shake out excess cheese and reserve it.
Beat egg whites until foamy. Add a pinch of salt and either a pinch of cream of tartar or a few drops of lemon juice and continue to beat until the whites form stiff peaks.
Scoop out a third of the whites and stir them thoroughly into the asparagus-egg mixture. Scrape remaining beaten whites into asparagus mixture and fold in just until incorporated: DON’T OVER MIX!
Pour the soufflé mixture into prepared dish and tap dish on kitchen bench to eliminate air bubbles. Sprinkle top with reserved parmesan. Set in the centre of the preheated oven; reduce heat to 375 degree F.
Bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door (less if you are using smaller separate ramekins), then check the soufflé. It should be browning nicely and should have risen 2 inches above the rim of the dish. Serve immediately.