December 26, 2008

blue cheese soufflé

Ok. I have a soufflé thing. I want to like them, I really do. The idea of sitting in Paris (and the dream of actually going there, of course), relaxing at a small little cafe, and eating some exotic souffle that is considered typical there. Ah, one can only hope. 
Perhaps it was just this soufflé, the fact that I have never made one before, or the fact that my new souffle dish had  yet to be christened, or something. Wait, scratch the last excuse. Either way, this souffle brought me back to America. It was, in my opinion, just bland. It tasted like blue cheese in a jellied-up form. And I love blue cheese, too. I have to give myself part blame- the reviews it received were all similar, but I had such high hopes, and had to try it for myself. 

I have to give Ina Garten (who is, by the way, one of my favorite chefs) some credit, though. This recipe was tremendously easy for a souffle, and the flavor was good, it was just lingering a bit too far in the background. 
Am I to eliminate all souffles from my 'to eat' list? (uh, not that I have anything of the sort). Hopefully, someone else will try this recipe, and prove me wrong. For now, though, I will just have to wonder.
Blue Cheese Soufflé
From Ina Garten/ Barefoot In Paris
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
Pinch nutmeg
4 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped
5 extra large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

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. 

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, cayenne, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minutes, until smooth and thick.

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.

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. 

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.

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