Posted by: A Part of the Solution | August 4, 2010

Courgette Soufflé

Here in the dog days of summer, it takes an act of courage to turn on the oven. But if you have central air conditioning, or live in a cooler and breezier climate (as I do), then it may be worth it–from time to time–to turn the oven on and work a little alchemy in the kitchen. Courgette is the British name for our friend the ubiquitous zucchini. And soufflé is the French classic dish: light enough to eat on the hottest days; delicate enough to show off the most subtle of the garden’s produce; and showy enough to make a huge impression on any guests you may have–or anyone for whom you love to cook.

The alchemy of a handful of eggs, a cup of milk and a zucchini made into something airy, yet rich, is magic of which I do not tire. This preparation requires a simple white sauce, and the ability to beat egg whites until stiff. These are foundation techniques, and not out of reach for any determined chef from about age ten and up.

Courgette Soufflé

1 zucchini, 12-14 oz

4 TBSP butter, divided

5 TBSP flour

1 cup milk

5 extra large eggs, at room temperature, separated carefully

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

3 TBSP heavy cream

3 oz gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese, grated

nutmeg, salt, freshly ground black pepper (or freshly ground grains of paradise–very special here)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a sauté pan. Split the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice it across into pieces about 1/8″ thick. Throw these into the pan with the bubbling butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally as the zucchini takes color.

In a second sauté pan, heat the remaining three tablespoons of butter until the bubbles subside. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk thoroughly until the mixture is smooth. Continue stirring for 6-8 minutes until the roux becomes sandy looking and gives off a toasty aroma. Pour in the cold milk and whisk with vigor and determination to smooth the roux into the milk. Keep stirring. In a few minutes, the white sauce will become very thick. Remove it from the fire and grate in about a quarter to a half teaspoon fresh nutmeg. Add the same amount of the grains of paradise–ground, and about two and a half times that amount of salt (or to taste).

Put the white sauce and the zucchini into a food processor and process until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the grated cheese, the cream and the egg yolks to the soufflé base and continue processing until very smooth.

Beat the egg whites with a wire whisk, egg beater or hand held mixer in a large bowl . As they foam up, add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Check often now for stiff peaks (when you lift your beating implement from the egg whites, the peak doesn’t fold over). The whites should still be shiny, and not dry or cracked.

Fold a length of parchment paper in half longways. Tie it around an 8″ casserole (at least 3 1/2″ deep) with kitchen twine, after oiling and flouring the casserole dish. Bake for thirty minutes without opening the oven door. Cut the twine and remove the parchment. The center will still be semi-liquid–a sort of self-saucing event. Serve with a young, crisp white wine–or homemade lemonade.

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Responses

  1. […] already shared how I make savory soufflé, courgette soufflé in fact. Besides using up a fair number of eggs (those five extra large eggs are the scaled […]


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