Thursday, April 12, 2007
Fresh Corn Souffles, with Variations
I have written about soufflés before on this blog. My absolute favorite is a blue cheese version that has become a staple for special occasions. If you are looking for a light dessert, whip up this low-calorie banana soufflé. Without a doubt, they are one of my favorite things to make. I love the versatility they offer and the ability to turn any ingredient into a little miracle with a simple technique.
This fresh corn version follows my template for vegetable soufflés. I chose corn to go along with Mole Steaks for a Mexican-themed meal. The sweetness of fresh corn pairs naturally with the light, buttery soufflé. Cotija cheese adds just enough salty tang, but you could use any cheese that sounds appealing to you.
Here are some other ideas for vegetable soufflés using this recipe. The only thing you need to change is the cheese and the veggie for a completely new flavor. Corn is ready to add to your soufflé as is, but you’ll have to finely chop larger vegetables like broccoli.
• Cooked broccoli and sharp cheddar or Parmesan (I made these as a side dish for Christmas dinner)
• Sauteed mushrooms and fontina
• Sauteed spinach and feta (squeeze out as much water as possible from the spinach)
You really can use your imagination. If you haven’t already, it is time to master this incredible dish. For tons of brilliant ideas and inspiration, browse through all the gorgeous soufflés from this past food blogging event.
Fresh Corn Soufflés
Makes 4 (6 oz.) soufflés
Butter, for coating soufflé dishes
Breadcrumbs, for coating soufflé dishes
3 tbs. unsalted butter
4-5 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
3 tbs. all-purpose flour
1 c. milk
¼ tsp. salt
ground pepper, to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
4 large eggs, separated
3 tbs. queso cotija, feta or Monterey jack cheese
1/3 c. fresh yellow corn, cut from the cob
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 4 (6 oz.) ramekins with butter and coat with bread crumbs, shaking out excess. Taste the corn. If it is sweet and tender, use it as is. If it tastes a little under ripe, microwave in a bowl with about a tablespoon of water for one minute. Drain and proceed with recipe. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the scallions and cook for 2-3 minutes or until very soft. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly. Add the milk and cook until slightly thickened, whisking continuously. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Quickly stir in a spoonful of the milk mixture to temper the egg yolks (so they won’t scramble when added to the hot mixture). Add the yolks to the milk mixture (do not return to stovetop), stirring to incorporate. Stir in the cheese and corn. Set this aside and beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. With a spatula, fold about one third of the whites into the soufflé batter. You want to still see some white streaks, and maintain the volume of the egg whites, so fold gently and briefly. Fold the remaining egg whites into the batter in two more additions.
Evenly divide the soufflé batter among the prepared ramekins and place on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the tops are tall, golden and just set in the center. Serve right away.
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