Oooh. Don’t mess with me chumps, I’m Mister Fancy-schamncy soufflé. I gots a hardcore reputation for not playin’ real nice-like and I’ll make ya all look like a bunch of assolopes if you try to bake me up. You gotta mix me just right. Don’t breathe too hard. Don’t be jigglin’ me around. Best to not open that oven once you puts me in. But are you sure that it’s at the exak right temperature? Will I be too dry? Whoops, don’t walk too hard in the kitchen. That’s right, one wrong look from you and I’ll fall faster than a CIA operative’s name from Karl Rove’s mouth. It’s just how I roll.
Why you gotta front soufflé? As far as I can tell you just got served. Served up all crispy, fluffy, golden brown, moist and delicious. That’s right. Who’s the bitch now?
For too long soufflés have been vilified and posted with double black diamonds, when in reality, they’re more like neighborly blue squares. What? You don’t ski? Anyway, point being, soufflés get a bad rap, but they’re easy, tasty and fun and people should make them more.
For this edition of Is My Blog Burning, Mme. Pants and I decided to go savory and whip up a parsnip and cheddar soufflé. We figured it was a good idea because you can never find enough excuses to eat more parsnips.
So, start by peeling a pound of that pigmentally challenged cousin of the carrot, give it a half inch dice and simmer it off for about fifteen minutes in 2-3 cups of stoutly salted water with a bay leaf floating around. When everything’s nice and soft, toss the leaf, keep a cup of the liquid and then puree the drained parsnip chunks until smooth.
Wait. Actually, start by getting out six eggs and letting them come to room temperature and then the parsnip stuff. No, wait. Start by getting a big drink and then the eggs and then all that parsnip crap. Yeah. (Be sure to get your wife a drink too or she’ll just stare at you with those big, sad doe eyes.)
Meanwhile (back at the Batcave), make a roux with about four tablespoons of butter and flour. Cook it ‘til it’s golden then whisk in the tasty reserved parsnip juice. Stir that until it’s thick and looks a little like gluey cream gravy.
Now stir in 1½ or 2 cups of grated cheddar, the parsnip puree, and a tablespoon of chopped sage. Separate your eggs. Stir in the six yolks. Good. You’re almost there.
If there is a trick to soufflés and I’m not saying there is, it’s all in the whites. Much like with laundry, you don’t really have to worry about the colored stuff. If something gets screwed, it’s probably the whites.
Here’re three quick tips to beating egg whites:
1) Make sure you don’t get any yolk mixed in
2) Start with them at room temperature
3) Add a little acid. This helps with volume, stabilization and moisture retention. Cream of tartar is best, lemon juice or vinegar work in a pinch; avoid hydrochloric and lysergic acid diethylamide unless you’re going for a whole different thing.
4) So I said three. So what? You want a piece? DON’T over beat them! Then they’re just gross. Feeling now fully empowered, whip your whites to frothy, creamy, peaks of excitement.
See, easy. Take half and fold it into the parsnipy, cheesy, pasty stuff, then fold in the other half.
Grease and flour an appropriate receptacle (don’t be nasty) and fill it about 2/3 full. Oh, your oven should be pre-heated to 400ºF. Pop that baby in and check on it in about half and hour. Contrary to popular belief, it is not certain soufflé death if you crack the oven to look at it. Just do it fast and sparingly. You’re not twelve and it’s not the girls’ locker room, so easy tiger.
There. It’s done when it’s big and poofy and beautifully brown. Serve it quick and be generous with the portions because everyone needs more soufflé.
We had ours with a nice salad dressed with a warm sherry and shallot vinaigrette and a lovely Cotes-du-Rhone. Insert lip smacking here.
Stay fluffy people and don’t let the soufflés grind you down.
(And thanks to Kitchen Chick for choosing a great theme and hosting a great Is My Blog Burning! Part One of the roundup is savory, and posted - yay! there we are! And here's a link to part two - sweet soufflees! (My fault - it's been up for several days.))