Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Salad and Souffle

Last week, Nick wanted to try his hand at souffle. A dish that I didn't attempt until I was over 30, here he is making it at age 12. Souffle is kind of magic; taking a simple egg and transforming it into an ethereal bearer of whatever flavor (cheese, chocolate, herbs) you choose.

Making souffle gave Nick a chance to practice separating eggs, whipping egg whites, and folding. Actually, I think his favorite part was buttering the ramekins with his bare hands.

This is an excellent light summer dinner with a raspberry salad and miniature, open-face ham sandwiches.

Goat Cheese Souffle

5 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for buttering ramekins
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/3 cups milk
5 ounces goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Separate the eggs, being very careful to not let any yolk break into the whites. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and cook the flour for a minute. Add the milk and cook and stir with a whisk until it thickens into a nice bechamel or white sauce. Remove from the heat and whisk in half of the cheese until it melts. Set the sauce aside to cool for a few minutes. While you are waiting, butter six ramekins generously. Drop a tablespoon or so of bread crumbs into each, and swirl the ramekins on their sides over the sink to coat the bottoms and the sides with crumb. Place on a cookie sheet. When the reserved sauce has cooled to lukewarm, whisk in the egg yolks and pinch the reminder of the goat cheese in to the pan in small bits. Salt and pepper to taste. In a mixer, whip the egg whites and the tartar sauce until stiff peaks form. Fold the yolk/cheese sauce mixture gently into the whipped egg whites. Divide the mixture between the ramekins. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they begin to brown on top. Serve immediately.

Raspberry Salad

1 pint very good quality raspberries
1 head Boston lettuce
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil

Tear the lettuce into a salad bowl and toss with the raspberries and the onion. Mix the vinegar and oil in small bowl; add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving.

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