Monday, December 21, 2009
Tomato and Pecorino Souffle
Alton Brown needs to have an episode on Souffles (actually, it seems that he already has, so... So much for my "Good Eats" merit badge.
Anyhow, I've stayed away from souffles for ages, fearing that they were just beyond my abilities. I've heard a lot of horror stories. But after looking at several of our recipe books, I realized that souffles all start with equal parts flour and oil cooking on medium heat, with some herbs, onions, whatever you like... Then you add 1/3 cup of milk for each tablespoon of oil and flour and cook it till it comes to a boil and thickens up. Any of you country boys and girls out there know what this is ALSO the recipe for... You got it, GRAVY! So after all the intimidation and French pronounciations of stuff like roux blanc, etc, the base of a souffle is "make white gravy." Ladies and Gentlemen, I can handle that. Then, off heat you add one egg yolk for each tablespoon of oil/flour, put it back on the heat, and stir till incorporated. Then you take it off the fire and add whatever you are going to put into the souffle. (Like grated pecorino cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes in this case...)
Then whipped egg whites (stiff peaks) get folded in, and this is then baked in a little special dish called a "ramakin", which sits in another pan with water in it for 25 minutes. (The water is in the pan, the souffle is in the ramakin, the ramikin sits in the pan surrounded by water... This keeps the souffle from burning on the bottom.)
The last trick is to not mess with it in the oven, trust that it is done after 25 minutes, and serve it right away.
Oh yeah, it seems that 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/3 cup milk, 1 egg yolk, 1 egg white is the ratio for one little ramakin, so if you wanted to make 25, you'd just bump up that ratio times 25.
It was easier than I thought it would be, and very tasty!