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Monday had arrived.
The ingredients for a French favorite dish I had been eager to enjoy were in my refrigerator waiting to be used.
Soufflé au Fromage making commenced in my kitchen at 11:30 on Monday of this week. By 12:10 I was in palate-pleasing-splendor with a glass of champagne in my hand and a bite (many bites) of cheese soufflé having been enjoyed.
My appetite, my being, was in a state of euphoric bliss. Okay, admittedly, I was feeling the bubbles of the sparkling wine as well, but mainly, it was the Soufflé au Fromage.
Often when a French recipe is considered or mentioned, the assumption is that the recipe is difficult and requires much attention, skill and special equipment. In actuality, especially in the case of making a soufflé, what is actually needed is simply quality ingredients: fresh eggs, scrumptious Swiss Gruyére and whole milk. Oh, and of course, in this case, fresh fines herbes from the garden.
With the guidance of Julia Child and David Lebovitz’s tips and advice for making a scrumptious dish, I came up with a combination that was a dream for the appetite. While you can certainly make your soufflé in a shallow dish to spread out the soufflé mixture as Lebovitz does, using a classic soufflé dish was my choice (short soufflé dishes are available as well if you want the effect of a large pop-over). No extra parchment paper or twine is needed as the ingredients I used puffed the soufflé up just above the dish (classic, large size), but no further than the dish could support. While the soufflé held its form for a couple of minutes for my pictures, as soon as I scooped out my first serving, it collapsed as it should have. Airy and light, cheese and creamy, the consistency was even throughout the entire dish, complete with a lovely brown top and sides.
And something additionally wonderful to know about this dish – you can absolutely make it ahead of time for a dinner party. Yep!
Let me explain, and a big THANK YOU Julia Child for reminding us of this option. After all, soufflés are special, and yes, made-to-order at restaurants which is why you must wait a bit longer for your dish to arrive, but you can make it easy for yourself and impress your guests by tending to the majority of the steps well before anyone arrives. How?
- You will only want to make the cheese sauce/filling (sans egg whites).
- Make the cheese sauce a couple of hours, not days, before your dinner party.
- Julia Child recommends dotting the top of the sauce with butter, covering with plastic wrap and setting aside.
- You will want to bring the sauce to tepid before you begin combining the egg whites that have been whipped with the salt.
Once the dinner party is in full swing, and the guests are enjoying one last appetizer, all that you have to do is whip the egg whites until they are light and creamy (with the pinch of salt), fold into your sauce (once you have brought it back to tepid), and go forward with the recipe from there. How simple! And why not. ☺️
Using both chervil and chives, roughly chopped, this added ingredient of fresh fines herbes offered an extra layer of fresh flavor. Choose the fine herbs you prefer and/or what you have in your garden.
Back to my Monday moment of deliciousness.
As the mail carrier had just delivered my mail and in it I discovered Sharon Santoni’s latest issue of My French Country Home magazine had arrived, Monday officially became a wonderful day of French celebration and a lovely way to begin what will certainly be a fantastic week.
Needless to say, if every Monday involves a Soufflé au Fromage avec Herbes, I have no doubt Mondays would quickly become one of my favorite days of the week. 😉
Below is the full recipe. Pair with a simple green salad topped with a homemade vinaigrette (my favorite go-to includes the following ingredients: 3-1 – EVOO and balsamic vinegar, then a smidge of Dijon mustard and two twists of freshly ground black pepper), a glass of your favorite crisp, cool drink (I chose Prosecco as I had an extra bottle left over from a gathering last week), and sit down to savor many delicious moments. I do hope you enjoy. Bonne journée!
Soufflé Au Fromage avec Herbes (Cheese Souffle)
- 1 Tbsp butter for buttering the inside of the soufflé dish
- 1-2 Tbsp Parmigiana Reggiano (shredded) for dusting on top of the butter in the prepared soufflé dish.
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter choose top quality butter (my favorite French butter – Isigny Sainte-Mère)
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup whole milk boiling
- 1/2 tsp salt – fleur de sel
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 4 large egg yolks
- 5 large egg whites
- 4 ounces Gruyére or Comté or Swiss cheese (grated)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/3-1/4 cup fresh garden herbs – chives, chervil, tarragon, – your choice roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Butter the soufflé dish with butter, covering all sides and the bottom well. Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano. Set aside.
- Using a small sauce pan, add the butter to the pan over medium heat. Melt the butter and then add the flour, all the while whisking or using a spoon so that it does not brown. Allow the butter and flour to combine and bring to a soft small bubbling (still over medium heat).
- As soon as the butter and flour mixture begin to bubble, REMOVE from the heat and add the milk (already just having brought to boil on the stovetop or in the mircrowave). Stir together with a wooden spoon until combined. Then add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Combine and the place back on the stove top and bring to boil, stirring for one minute. The sauce should be thick, but very moveable.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the four egg yolks to the mixture one at a time and incorporate with a wire whisk.
- With the grated cheese handy (reserve 1-2 tablespoons as it will be placed on top of the soufflé before baking), add 3 1/2 ounces to the sauce along with the chopped herbs. Mix until combined. (If you are making ahead, this is when you will put your sauce to the side and wait until you are about to serve to finish the rest of the recipe.)
- Whisk the 5 egg whites with salt in a separate mixing bowl using a handmixer until creamy and airy, but do not over-mix them. About 2-4 minutes.
- Add one large scoop of the whipped egg whites to the cheese sauce. Fold in gently. Gradually add the rest of the egg whites, folding gently to keep the airy goodness needed in the soufflé until all the whites are combined.
- Pour into your prepared soufflé dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1-2 tablespoons of grated cheese on top and place in the oven (middle rack in the middle of the oven). Immediately upon placing the soufflé in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Cook for 25-30 minutes (DO NOT open the oven to check on the soufflé, no mater how tempted you are). At this point, the top should be nicely browned. Bake for 3-5 more minutes to make sure the soufflé is firm enough.
- Remove from the oven and enjoy immediately with a vinagriette tossed green salad and a glass of wine.
~View more TSLL Recipes in the Archives