Blue Cheese Soufflé
- Ben’s ideal dinner destination: Sports bar serving up messy burgers, bottomless fries, and ND football on every flat screen.
- Erin’s ideal dinner destination: French-inspired bistro with an in-house pastry chef, scandalously well-priced wine list, and killer olives.
- Ben’s perfect afternoon: Tossing a football in a swimming pool, then passing out in the sun.
- Erin’s perfect afternoon: Day trip to a cute town, followed by a picnic.
- Ben’s preferred thermostat setting: 63°F
- Erin’s preferred thermostat setting: 83°F
- Actual apartment temperature: 74°F
Hence, our weekend began with a juicy burger + James Bond date night and ended with a big, fluffy BLUE CHEESE SOUFFLE.
Ben is a man of simple tastes. Classic example: his dessert of choice is cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream or a plain chocolate chip cookie. That’s it. On a wild night, he’ll put the ice cream on the cookie. He orders a club sandwich at any opportunity, regardless of what else is on the menu. He’s not picky. He just prefers straightforward, uncomplicated dishes.
Soufflé is a slam-dunk dish for a special brunch, holiday side, or (in Ben and my case) Sunday dinner. Change the flavor to fit your tastes. Don’t like blue cheese? Sub cheddar! Beyond cheese, options abound (broccoli, crab, and even butternut squash are all fabulous), but I do love this blue cheese rendition. Because blue cheese itself is strong in flavor, a little goes a long way. The soufflé’s body comes from the whipped egg whites, you can use skim milk, and yet the taste is melt-in-your mouth marvelous.
Blue Cheese Soufflé
Blue Cheese Soufflé
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter — plus a little extra for greasing the dish
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan — plus 2 tablespoons
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk — I use skim
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, — plus additional for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, — plus additional for seasoning
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 4 large egg yolks — at room temperature
- 3 ounces blue cheese, — chopped (If you are feeling fancy, go for good Roquefort—I elected a Wisconsin blue)
- 5 extra-large egg whites — at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Butter the inside of an 8-cup soufflé dish (roughly 8 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep) or another deep, round casserole dish (I only had a 10-cup, so I reduced the baking time slightly). Sprinkle evenly with 2 T. Parmesan to coat.
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.
In a separate saucepan, warm the milk until just below boiling point (called scalded milk).
Whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick. Remove pan from heat.
Off the heat but while liquid is still hot, whisk in the room temperature egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the blue cheese and the 1/4 c. of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Place the room temperature egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until the whites form firm, glossy peaks. (Be careful not to take it too far—if over mixed, the whites will become foamy and separate, without hope of recovery.)
Lightly stir 1/4of the egg whites into the cheese mixture. Gently fold in the remainder. Pour batter into the prepared soufflé dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle around the top with the spatula to help the soufflé rise evenly, and place in the middle of the preheated oven. Immediately reduce the temperature to 375°F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don't open the oven to peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.
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