Today I went out for a wonderful and rather filling lunch (Nonna’s, Sheffield, http://www.nonnas.co.uk/), and since I had the evening to myself I decided to tackle something I’ve never before been brave enough to make – a lovely light souffle.
It’s frustrating trying to find a soufflé recipe for one, despite the fact that all sources seem to suggest that they are best cooked in small quantities. However, on this occasion Delia Smith came to the rescue with a book that has previously just sat on my shelf – ‘One is Fun!’ (something my mum sent me to uni with!). This particular soufflé is courgette and cheese which was great, as they were both in my fridge!
Heat the oven to 200 degrees (i put mine on at 185 as its a fan oven) or gas mark 6. grease a 13cm diameter soufflé dish with plenty of butter and fill a roasting tin with 2.5cm of water and place in the oven to heat up with it (the soufflé will be cooked sitting in this water). I don’t own a soufflé dish and whilst I considered using my house mate’s teacups (they’re pretty sturdy), I settled for my pyrex measuring jug on the grounds that a) it’s pyrex, what can go wrong? and b) when it goes wrong, it’s mine which will save a lot of guilt. Luckily, this turned out to be a remarkably successful soufflé dish!
- 175g Courgette(s – if they’re small)
- 1 large egg, separated AND an extra egg white
- 40g butter
- 2 rounded teaspoons of flour (a dessert spoon)
- 55 ml of milk
- 2 teaspoons of chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons of finely chopped chives or spring onion
- 10g grated cheese – Cheddar or Gruyère or other hard cheese of choice
- Cayenne pepper
- Grated parmesan or more cheddar for the top
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1. Cut the courgettes into 4 quarters, lengthways. then slice finely to end up with little delicate quarters of courgette. The precision of this does not matter too much as the courgette melts away as you cook it, the important thing is that it is consistently small, allowing it to cook evenly and rapidly. Put this in a medium frying pan or saucepan (the milk will be poured in later so it must be deep enough to hold a bit more stuff!). Put the butter in with the courgette and cook slowly on a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes with a lid on, until the courgettes look soft and melty, but make sure to stir to avoid burnt bits. Season with salt and pepper
2. When the courgettes are cooked to perfection, add the 2 teaspoons of plain flour and stir around to soak up the butter/courgette juices. Then gradually add the milk a little bit at a time, stirring to create a smooth mixture – this is essentially a courgetty roux. Remove this from the heat and stir in the egg yolk, parsley, chives/spring onion, grated cheese (coarsely grated!!), a good whack of nutmeg and cayenne pepper to taste – for me also a good whack! As those of you who watch masterchef will have learnt this week, cheese for a soufflé must be coarsely grated if you want your soufflé to taste cheesey as finely grated cheese gets completely lost in the mixture, resulting in a disappointing cheese flavour.Taste this and adjust seasoning of the salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg.
3. In a separate large bowl beat the two egg whites. Make sure that no yolk has mixed in with the whites as it will stop the aeration process working effectively!! Beat until the whites are at the soft peak stage and be careful not to overbeat. Fold the whites a third of the mixture at a time into the bowl of courgettey roux. Gently coax into your souffle dish and sprinkle the top with more cheese. Place very carefully in the hot water in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. do not open the oven door to check until about 25/30 minutes (especially not early on in the cooking!).
This is lovely served with salad and some tasty bread and makes a surprisingly filling dinner and a substantial lunch. I made waldorf salad with mine as apart from courgette I happened to have stilton, apple, celery and walnuts! This went quite nicely actually, and I had a few lightly toasted slices of the loaf I made yesterday with it (from the recipe posted by Jack a few days ago).
What amazed and delighted me was that this soufflé actually worked!! I think I may attempt a dessert soufflé next!
So behold my very poorly photographed and extremely unglamorous but remarkably successful and totally delicious courgette soufflé. A great dinner for a freezing winter’s night and a wonderful treat for the lone diner!