I just love to make a soufflé. It’s a fancy thing that contrary to its reputation is really quite simple, and open to whatever creative moment you might be having. I make one for dinner regularly, and T never suspects that it’s actually a last-minute, time-saving kind of dish. (He thinks I’m spoiling him.)
Somewhere, and at some point, I picked up this recipe, which is brilliant in the fact that its adjustable formula is based on the pretext of one egg serving one person. And from experience I can tell you that a two egg soufflé does serves two, just. I have the three egg recipe memorized, as for T and me, a three-egg soufflé leaves a bit leftover for the chef to nibble on for lunch the next day. You could expand the formula infinitely, I suppose – although the spoilsport in me says be aware of overflow.
And what you choose to put into the soufflé is entirely up to you. A plain cheese souffle, with your favorite cheese, is hardly a plain thing; try a bit of finely chopped, cooked vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, or mushrooms; or replace a portion of the milk with crab or mussel juices and make a crab or mussel soufflé. And so on. I never bother to strictly measure the amount of cheese or of filling, as a little cheese makes a light and foamy dish, and a good measure of filling a rich and dense soufflé. And all are delicious.
Finally, one last suggestion – which is that a soufflé doesn’t have to be cooked in its traditional dish. I prefer a ceramic or metal chafing dish, or an appropriately sized casserole, so that it cooks quickly and evenly. It might not look like a high-hat, trembling thing, but since your soufflé will fall, very soon (I promise), all that’s important is that it gets to the table immediately. Immediately and immediately…Recipe: A simple formula for a soufflé. 2 eggs, separated 2 Tbs. butter 2 Tbs. flour 1/2 cup milk 1/4-1/2 cup grated cheese 1/2 cup or more of cooked filling, optional 3 eggs, separated 3 Tbs. butter 3 Tbs. flour 3/4 cup milk 1/2-3/4 cup grated cheese 3/4 cup or more of cooked filling, optional 4 eggs, separated 4 Tbs. butter 4 Tbs. flour 1 cup milk 3/4 – 1 cup grated cheese 1 cup or more of cooked filling, optional and so on…. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour, and cook until lightly browned. Slowly stir in the milk, and cook over low heat until the sauce is thick. Remove from heat, and quickly stir in egg yolks until well mixed. Add grated cheese and your filling of choice. Season well. Set aside. When ready to cook, thickly butter a soufflé dish or baking dish. Beat egg whites until all large bubbles disappear and the whites are thick. Fold whites into filling mixture, and bake at 350° until the center is dry (when tested like a cake) and the center is raised – about 35 minutes for a 3 egg soufflé. Take to the table without hesitation, and enjoy.