A cheese soufflé is a classic dish, and I wanted to see if it could be adapted easily to locally available ingredients. This recipe is a variation based on Alton Brown’s Cheese Soufflé.
There were two main challenges. The bechamel sauce that flavors the eggs and cheese usually has a little flour in it as a thickener, and cream of tartar is usually mixed into the egg whites to strengthen them and keep them fluffy.
Since no grains are grown commercially in Whatcom County (that I’m aware of)*, I had to use a transitional ingredient for the flour. I could have used flour ground at the Fairhaven Mill, but since my menu included rosemary dinner rolls I finely grated part of a roll and used the crumbs instead of flour. It worked fine. The bechamel was not as smooth as it would normally be, but since it gets mixed in with the egg yolks and fluffy whites the difference in texture was insignificant.
For the cream of tartar, a quick Google search turned up lemon juice or vinegar as a substitute. I decided to use apple cider vinegar.
* Note 10/20/11: Since I originally created this recipe, Nooksack 9 farm has been successfully experimenting with growing grains. You can see what they have available at the Farmers Market. Also, Krista Rome’s Backyard Beans and Grains Project plans to start a bean and grain CSA program in 2012.
- Unsalted butter, room temperature, for greasing the souffle dish (homemade)
- 1½ ounces (3 tablespoons) butter (homemade)
- 3 tablespoons fine bread crumbs (Breadfarm, Edison, Skagit County)*
- 1 clove garlic, minced (Uprising Organics CSA, Acme/Bellingham)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt (see Exceptions)
- 1⅓ cups half-and-half (Twin Brook Creamery, Lynden)
- 4 large egg yolks (2½ ounces by weight) (Misty Meadows Farm, Everson)
- 6 ounces jalapeno gouda cheese, grated (Pleasant Valley Dairy, Ferndale)
- 5 egg whites plus 1 tablespoon water (5½ ounces by weight plus ½ ounce water) (Misty Meadows Farm, Everson)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (BelleWood Acres, Lynden)
- This is a transitional ingredient. Edison is just south of the Whatcom County border.
- Use room temperature butter to grease an 8-inch soufflé dish.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a small saucepan, heat the remaining butter. Sauté the minced garlic until all the water is cooked out of the butter.
- Whisk the bread crumbs and salt into the melted butter and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the half-and-half and turn the heat to high. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove from the heat.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks to a creamy consistency. Put the same saucepan over medium heat, and slowly add the yolks into the milk mixture, constantly whisking. Remove from the heat and add the grated cheese. Whisk until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites and vinegar until glossy and firm. Add ¼ of the mixture to the egg base. Continue to add the whites by thirds, folding very gently.
- Pour the mixture into the soufflé dish. Fill the dish to ½-inch from the top. Place on an aluminum pie pan. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until the top is nicely browned.
Community Food Co-operative, Westerly and Cordata, Bellingham
Artisan Wine Gallery, Lummi Island
Uprising Organics CSA, Acme/Bellingham