Ham and Cheese Souffle
Pre heat oven to 220C
Souffle - A French word which literally means "puffed up," is a culinary term in both French and English (and used in many other languages) for a light, frothy dish, just stiff enough to hold its shape, and which may be savory or sweet, hot or cold .Beauvilliers was making souffles possibly as early as 1782 (though he did not publish his L'Art du cuisinier until 1814).
This was my first and only attempt at making a hot souffle - I was nervous as hell but in the end , thrilled by the result . Here is the recipe , and I hope you make it too .
Rule 1 -Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl . Don't use a plastic bowl as plastic often harbor traces of grease which interferes with the formation of foam .
Rule 3 - A hot souffle will wait for nobody ! Don't let it stand too long ( though a dash of lemon juice helps overcome the 'sinking ' problem as does a dash of Cream of Tartar .
Grease your oven proof dish , sprinkle flour lightly - not evenly on the sides and bottom .
Keep all ingredients that can be chopped / shredded / prepared in advance ready . The reason is that once you start your souffle you don't stop even to breathe ( ! ) till you have it in the oven !
100 Grams Ham - chopped fine / minced .
100 Grams Matured Cheddar Cheese - grated.
25 Grams Parmesan - grated .
50 Grams Flour.
50 Grams Butter.
250 Ml Milk.
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice .
4 Eggs - Carefully separate them , don't even a drop of the yoke into the whites .
Herbs if you like . I feel with this recipe and it's strong flavors of ham and cheese you wont need any herbs.
Paprika and /or Crushed Black Pepper .
No salt as the ham and cheese are salty enough .
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then gradually add the flour stirring constantly to not allow lumps to form - do not to let it brown ! Reduce the heat and gradually whisk in the milk; stir until you have a thick but flowing white sauce . Remove pan from the heat.
Now , whisk in the egg yokes , then the cheeses and ham and lemon juice . Taste the batter , it should be a dash more salty than you would like it to . That's because you are now also about to introduce in 4 egg whites whisked - light and frothy !
Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until they form stiff peaks, then mix 2 tablespoons of the whisked egg white into the sauce. Carefully fold in the remaining egg white, making sure not to over-mix it. Gently fold - some egg whites wont be mixed with the sauce which is fine . Keep movement minimum .
Spoon in the mixture into the dish / individual bouillon bowl , and bake for 13-15 minutes . DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE BAKING !
Serve immediately . I hope the rest of your menu is as exotic , because after this superb dish , most other stuff pales !
Bon appetit !