This one may be sound a little pretentious but trust me it’s worth it. French classical cooking may have fallen out of style recently in favour of trendy pop ups and ‘deconstructed junk food’ but that’s no excuse not to cook it.
If you haven’t cooked a soufflé before I’ll let you in on a little secret; they really aren’t that hard. The most important thing is not to over mix the egg whites and then you will be fine, I’ll come to that a little bit later.
I’ve done this recipe in the American format of using volume (cups) rather than grams; hopefully it should make it a little less intimidating for new comers.
May have collapsed a bit whilst I was taking pictures!
- 3 eggs (separated)
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 and half tablespoons of flour
- half a cup of Gruyere cheese
- half a cup of chopped crayfish meat
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
Start off by heating the milk with the bay leaf and crayfish shells you have. Don’t boil it but keep it just below a simmer for around 20 minutes to infuse.
Preheat oven to 200 C.
In a pan make a roux with your butter and flour. Once strained slowly add the hot milk whilst whisking into you have incorporated all the milk and removed any lumps. If you wish you can add a splash of white wine at this stage, however be sure to cook the sauce on a high heat for a few minutes afterwards to boil off all the alcohol (stir constantly). You can now add your chopped crayfish and most of the cheese (reserve a little to sprinkle on top) and the mustard.
Let the sauce cool and whip your egg whites. Make sure that they are in a very clean bowl (any contaminants such as yolk will stop them from whipping). Whip your egg whites until they have formed stiff peaks then set to the side.
By now your sauce should have cooled a little, once you have checked your seasoning stir in your egg yolks. Now comes the slightly tricky part. At this point you want to ‘fold’ in your egg whites. Rather than stirring you want slowly lift the mixture from the bottom and mix it very gently so that you don’t knock the air out the egg whites.
Add you mix to buttered ramekins (placed on baking tray) and put slide into the oven. Once you have put the tray in the oven add some boiled water to the bottom of the tray until it is just under an inch deep. Cook until the soufflés have risen and turned golden brown (around ten minutes)
Serve with a watercress salad (preferably foraged/stolen from where you caught your crayfish!)and eat it very quickly before it collapses!
P.S. For information on trapping crayfish head to http://www.wellhungfood.com/home/recipes/how-to-catch-crayfish/