A Parmesan Souffle - it's been on my agenda all winter and since winter is still here - there's no time like the present to make it. It's official. The Winter Witch rules and we live in Narnia - waiting for Aslan to help us. The fishing opener is less than three weeks away and it doesn't look like there will be ice-out on any of the 10,000 lakes soon. Minnesotans are trying to hold on to their sense of humor - calling it the "ice fishing" opener. I foresee a whole lot of people in Bermuda shorts and snowmobile boots out on the lakes with axes trying to clear a path for their boats.
I'm not a fussy cook and this is really a no-fuss souffle. Five ingredients (yeah ... a bunch of bowls) but a ten-minute prep time and flawless results. (Just get those souffles to the table ASAP - they do deflate - you have less than a minute of "ooh and ahh.")
The original recipe makes one huge souffle or six small ones. I made three, but will give you the recipe for six. Do bake them in 8-ounce ramekins. Making a large one could be tricky - but the smaller ones are fast and puffy! The recipe is from Food Network. Find the original recipe (with hints and tips) here.
Ingredients (for six 8 ounce Parmesan Cheese Souffles)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter - plus more for greasing ramekins
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (you can use a wee bit more) plus more for coating ramekins
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (I didn't use salt - the Parm has enough salt for me)
6 eggs - separated
Parmesan Souffle Preparation
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter six 8-ounce ramekins and coat with Parmesan. Tap out excess. Set aside. Grate Parmesan. Separate eggs.
Heat milk over low heat in a small sauce pan. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and flour and stir for two minutes to "cook the flour." Whisk in the hot milk, bring to a boil and then to a simmer. Take pot off heat, add the grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste and then set in a bowl to cool.
In a mixer, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Whisk egg yolks into cooled cheese-bechamel mixture. Add 1/3 of egg whites - fold in to lighten mixture. Slowly add rest of egg whites. Divide into 6 ramekins. Bake 15 minutes until top is golden and souffles puff up. The middle may jiggle a bit.
Ironic that as I wait for spring, I concoct something fluffy and white. It's rich and while it is a winter balm - all comfort and warmth - the puffy lightness is a prelude to spring.
I may moan about the winter (because - I am good at it!) but you must also know - I thank my lucky stars that I can make a souffle, get up in the morning to work and "while away" the hours with loved ones and all of you. My heart - like everyone else's - has been in Boston all week. I am a huge fan of the city, the state and a great lover of the Boston Marathon.
Today, I minced apples to deliver to the robins. Worms are scarce and flocks of robins are in the crab-apple tree searching for last year's fruit. As I walked into the snow edging past covered flower beds - I saw a tulip emerging in the new snow. There are some things you can't keep down.
And then I came inside to the Jester of White Bear Lake. Who needed a purr and tummy rub. It's the "little things," you know? The "little things" that bring the good things.