For this recipe, I combine an aged cheddar with Gruyère to balance the good cheese flavor of the soufflé, which is a nicely flavored lunch dish. It tastes deliciously of cheese, particularly if the cheddar is a good sharp one. I like to buy a very good Vermont cheddar. A soufflé is a good way to use cheese for a main course dish without meat, and almost everyone likes it. A lot of people are intimidated by the idea of making a soufflé but shouldn’t be. Just try one. Follow the instructions and do not let it overcook. Whatever you do, be sure to use real cheese when you make a soufflé—never make one with processed cheese. It won’t taste good.
Excerpted from IN PURSUIT OF FLAVOR by Edna Lewis. Copyright 1988 by Edna Lewis. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
This recipe was featured on our new cook-along podcast Play Me a Recipe. Listen as Resident Sohla El-Waylly grates, whips, and bakes her way through this dish, offering tips and backstory along the way. —Sohla El-Waylly
- Prep time 18 minutes
- Cook time 20 minutes
- Serves 4
sharp white cheddar
egg yolks, slightly beaten
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter a 1 1⁄2-quart soufflé dish, and set it on top of the stove or in a warm place to warm up.
- Grate the cheeses using the next to the finest side of a four-sided grater. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour, and cook a few minutes, stirring, until the flour is well blended, without browning. Pour in the warm milk, stirring all the while. Remove the pan from the burner and add the egg yolks, mixing them in well. Add the grated cheeses and mix thoroughly. Add the salt, cayenne, and dry mustard, and mix well again. The cheese should melt in the warm sauce without further cooking on top of the stove. Cover the pan lightly and leave to cool a bit before mixing in the beaten egg whites. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Stir the cheese batter and pour it onto the egg whites, then fold the whites into the batter gently and thoroughly until well blended. Spoon the mixture into the soufflé dish. (Or you could use individual ramekins.) Fill the dish three-fourths full. Set the soufflé dish in the preheated oven. After 5 minutes, turn the oven down to 400°F, and cook for 15 minutes. Serve at once.