I hosted my nestie/knottie girlfriend, Becky, last week and I was more than happy to cook her dinner. She frequents my blog from time to time, and had asked me about this recipe from my Weekly Menus. I gave her the recipe link and the forgetful cook that I am...never made it for myself. So I knew this was the meal we had to share and enjoy and I could finally try it out, too. I've only had sweet souffles and couldn't wait to try out a savory version. I'll truthfully admit that I hate cooking new dishes for the first time and trying them out for whenever I have guests over for dinner. It's something I rather not practice, because what if this the one instance that I have F*$*^*&^ it up. (I had my fave pizza place on speed dial if a food emergency had happened.) This recipe seemed easy enough but a souffle is a very risky dish because its cooking without the safety net. I had this fear that I had overbeaten the egg whites & once I had taken the souffle out of the oven it would deflate like a sad cake. LOL, it never happened because thankfully I did my food homework: studied the recipe back and forth, watched the episode and prepped myself enough time to prepare this dish. Timing is key to this dish, once the souffle has been fully cooked...serve immediately. Also, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. They shouldn't slide out if the bowl is turned upside down, but the foam shouldn't crack or look curdled either. Good luck!
Blue Cheese Souffle
Adapted from Ina Garten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup scalded milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped
5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter the inside of an 8-cup souffle dish (7 1/2 inches in diameter and 3 1/4 inches deep) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.
3. Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the Roquefort and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4. Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks.
5. Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest. Pour into the souffle dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the souffle rise evenly, and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don't peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.
Review: Wow, this was such a delightful meal. Becky & I couldn't stop oohing and ahhing about it. I thought the Roquefort Blue Cheese would be overpowering, but it was rich and velvety and perfect for the souffle. I paired it with a simple bacon spinach salad (spinach, candied pecans, dried cranberries, grated parmesan cheese, crunchy maple bacon pieces, and a drizzle of olive oil & balsamic vinegar)....it was heaven on a plate. We enjoyed our meal with a great bottle of red table wine, Menage a Trois. (It's funny for it's name, but goes well with any meal, too.) I can't wait to make this again with my other favorite cheeses: gouda, fontina, gruyere, and extra sharp wisconsin cheddar cheese. Thanks Becky for coming over for dinner!