Truly mouth-watering and satisfying, this Asparagus Goat Cheese Soufflé is a subtle blend of flavors and textures. It goes well with a good wine, either red (suggest a Zinfandel) or white (Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio).
Asparagus Goat Cheese Soufflé
Asparagus Goat Cheese Soufflé Recipe-
- 1 lb. tender, medium to thin thickness, asparagus spears, tough bottom parts chopped off, and spears cut into 1″ long pieces
- 1/2 cup finely chopped goat cheese
- Salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh shallots
- 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup finely ground dry bread crumbs
- 3 tbsp. unbleached cake flour
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- Pinch dry ground mustard
- Pinch ground cumin
- Pinch ground ginger
- Freshly ground black peppercorns
- 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 5 egg whites
You will need: 6 ramekins (8 oz.)
- Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil (1 tsp. of salt for each quart of water), and blanch the asparagus spears for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse immediately to stop them from cooking any further, then set aside to cool down to room temperature.
- Using a saucepan, melt 1 tbsp. of butter on medium heat, then add in the shallots, garlic, and thyme. Sauté until just softened, but not yet browned—usually 4 or 5 minutes is about right. Remove from the stove and set aside.
- Purée the shallot mixture and the asparagus in a blender. You should have at least 1-1/4 cup of purée.
- Butter the insides of your ramekins and then coat the butter with the bread crumbs—retain any leftover crumbs.
- In a medium sized saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 tbsp. of butter. Add in the cake flour and whisk until thoroughly incorporated with the butter, and keep stirring for 2 to 3 more minutes. Take care that you don’t let the flour brown. Gradually, add the milk into the mixture, slowly and little by little, whisking continuously. Now stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the ginger, mustard, cumin and nutmeg, as well as some freshly ground black pepper. Turn the heat down to low and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring now and then to avoid the mixture from sticking to the pan. This is your béchamel sauce, and it has to be perfect for the soufflé to turn out well.
- Remove the béchamel from the heat after 15 minutes; stir in the goat cheese. Transfer the asparagus mixture and the béchamel to a large mixing bowl—preferably a bowl with a pouring lip, for ease of pouring out later.
- Do a taste test, and adjust the mixture’s seasonings if and as necessary—this is your soufflé base, and you want it to be well-seasoned. Now stir in the egg yolks and thoroughly combine them into the mixture.
- You have the option, at this juncture, of storing the soufflé base mixture, for use at a later date. It will refrigerate for as long as two days. But if you do that, you will need to take the base out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature before moving on to the next step.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Make a water bath, by using a 9” X 13” baking dish with at least 2” tall sides, then filling it with boiling hot water (no need to fill it just yet, but put the water on to boil at this point.
- Now take you egg whites, add a pinch of salt to them and, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites to until they are firm, but still soft enough that a spoon stuck into the mixture and gently pulled out creates a peak. (NOTE: it is imperative that there are no traces of egg yolk or even the tiniest bit of eggshell in this mixture—be sure to inspect your egg whites carefully before starting this procedure). Once soft little peaks can form with the spoon test, you are done. Beating any longer will result in peaks so stiff that your soufflé will take on a texture that is too dry, not the moist, soft texture that you want.
- Next, using a rubber spatula, fold in just about one fourth of beaten egg whites into the asparagus mixture, then fold in the remaining three-quarters. Be gentle with this procedure, or you may deflate the fluffy egg whites.
- Your soufflé mixture is now ready to go into your ramekins. Fill the ramekins to within ¼” of the top, no further. Some people like to sprinkle some bread crumbs over the top, optional, but if you want to do that, now is the time.
- Now put your filled ramekins in the baking dish, and then place the baking in the preheated oven in the middle rack position. Pour enough of the boiling hot water into the baking dish so that the water comes half the way up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake the soufflés at 400°F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for about 15 minutes more. The soufflés should become puffed up and turn a pleasing golden brown. If you have an oven door with a glass window and an internal light, that is preferable, because opening the door too early to check on them can cause the soufflés to “fall” and lose their nice puffy texture. If your oven door is solid, wait until very near the end of the baking time, and open the door very gently.
- Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven, and let the soufflés sit on the counter or a table for a good 15 minutes before serving.
- You can, as an option, save the soufflés for serving at a later date. To do this, again allow them to sit for 15 minutes, then loosen them from the ramekins by running a sharp knife around the ramekins perimeter inside edges. Then invert them onto a buttered baking sheet, allow to cool to room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you are ready to serve them, let them warm up to room temperature, heat your over to 400 degrees F, and bake them (on the baking sheet, not in the ramekins) for about 8 minutes, then serve Asparagus Goat Cheese Soufflé.
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