Adapted from Jewish Traditional Cooking by Ruth Joseph and Simon Round
Asparagus soufflés sound expensive and complicated and yet they're simplicity itself. The basic mixture can be adapted by including slivers of fresh salmon, your favorite cheese, or some grilled wild mushrooms. The joy of creating a soufflé is that the sauce can be made in advance, and then when your guests arrive and are enjoying their drinks all you need to do is whisk up the egg whites, combine them with the sauce, and pour the mixture into your greased molds.
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing
11⁄2 cups Parmesan, grated
8 ounces asparagus
Olive oil, for brushing
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 cups milk
6 large organic free-range eggs, separated
Grated zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
6 oz soft white cheese, such as mozzarella, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
• Preheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare six ramekins by greasing them with butter or margarine and dusting them with a little of the Parmesan cheese.
• Place in a roasting pan ready for transferring them to the oven later.
• Wash the asparagus and trim off the woody ends (save these for soup). Brush with oil and place on a hot grill pan for 4–5 minutes until charred and just tender. Remove and leave to cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
• To make the white sauce, melt the butter or margarine in a medium saucepan and stir in the flour. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to boil and simmer for 2 minutes to cook out the flour.
• Add the egg yolks, lemon zest, mozzarella, remaining Parmesan, asparagus, and seasoning and stir well to combine.
• Remove from the heat and set aside.
• Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff. Add a spoonful of the egg white to the asparagus sauce and mix it in to loosen the mixture. Carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites, along with the parsley, and then divide the mixture among your prepared ramekins.
• Carefully transfer the soufflés in a roasting pan into the oven. Fill the base of the roasting pan with boiling water until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins to form a bain-marie and close the oven door. Bake for 20–25 minutes, by which time the soufflés should be risen and delicious—resist the temptation to open the oven door before they are cooked, or they will sink. Serve immediately.
Recipe: Kosher, dairy