Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer Souffle with Fresh Corn, Scallions, and Shrimp

As a child, I called everything I made in my pretend kitchen a souffle. Cut grass souffle. Ladybug souffle. Dirt souffle. 

I know this will come as a huge shock to you, but I really had no idea what souffle was. It sounded like the noise a spatula makes when it folds several things together. Su flay. Or what you might exclaim while bringing something magnificent out of the oven. Su flay! At the very least it was just a mixture of things. 

Ultimately, I wasn't too far off. A souffle can really be whatever you want it to be. Here, I combine the classic summer flavors of fresh corn, mint, and scallions. Feel free to omit the shrimp if you'd like to keep the recipe vegetarian. It has plenty of flavor without them. But do not under any circumstances use frozen corn. The fresh kernels are like little bubbles of flavor and texture, offsetting the mousselike consistency of the souffle perfectly. Oh sweet summer!

My elementary understanding of this dish never included eggs, and a souffle is not a souffle without them. This recipe calls for five egg whites. Don't skimp on the last one. I did and as you'll see from the photo below, did not achieve the height you can usually expect from this dish. 

This blog has evolved over the years to what it is today, an attempt to demystify French food and make it accessible, something you could make every day if you desire. 

serves 2-4 

1 ear of fresh corn, kernels removed
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cooked shrimp, tails removed, roughly chopped
2 sprigs mint, minced
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup very hot milk

4 egg yolks
5 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Prepare a small baking dish, about 8x8, by buttering it and sprinkling the bottom with two tablespoons of the cheese. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter and flour together in a large skillet. Cook for about two minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the hot milk. Return to the heat and stir until fully incorporated. The sauce will be exceptionally thick.

Add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking after each addition. Stir in the corn, scallions, shrimp, and mint, Set aside.

In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the cheese. Stir a third of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining amount. Pour into the prepared pan, turn the oven down to 375 degrees, and bake for about 25 minutes.