Bring Back the Cheese Soufflé!
Thursday, January 5, 2012
The response to the piece I wrote on how to make a better grilled cheese sandwich has been so intense that it’s gotten me thinking about other good uses for Cheddar cheese. I had a sudden, sharp taste memory of the cheese souffles that my mother’s friends used to serve in the fifties, and I simply had to go into the kitchen and make one.
This is from my mother's recipe box (a dubious distinction, I'll admit), and it is exactly as I remember it. It’s not really French - just solid American food, baked in a brownie pan and served with a salad. In the fifties it was considered extremely sophisticated; today I'd just call it extremely satisfying.
Melt a half stick of butter over low heat and whisk in two tablespoons of flour until it’s turned into a smooth roux. Slowly pour in a cup of scalded milk and and whisk for a couple of minutes until you have something that’s smooth as melted ice cream. Toss in a dash of salt, a pinch of pepper and a good handful (about a cup) of grated cheddar cheese, stir well and remove from the heat.
Separate 4 eggs, stirring the yolks into the cheese mixture. Whip the whites in a clean bowl with clean beaters until stiff. Stir about a third of the egg whites into the cooled cheese mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Pour into a greased 8 by 8 inch square pan, and bake at 350 until it’s puffy and golden (about half an hour).