The French classic, lifted by green garlic
A seasonal soufflé
Spring always arrives so suddenly in Burgundy, say Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini in The Cook’s Atelier (Abrams). One day, it’s still cool and damp. The next, the trees start flowering, the tulips appear, and the nearby outdoor market is “abuzz with signs of new life”—white asparagus, green garlic, Gariguette strawberries.
The soufflé below, inspired by Julia Child, is a dish we might serve for a casual dinner at the small wine shop we added to our cooking school. Friends will drop by and share wine while their children play outside the open door and we cook. One trick: We infuse the milk with green (young) garlic, ramps, or a bouquet garni before preparing the béchamel base.
Recipe of the week
Green garlic soufflé
5 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1¼ cup whole milk
8 stalks green garlic, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp fleur de sel
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 large egg yolks
¾ cup coarsely grated Comté or Gruyère
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp dry mustard (optional)
7 large egg whites
Set a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425. Butter the inside of a 6-cup soufflé dish (or eight 1-cup ramekins). Sprinkle with Parmesan, reserving any excess. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine milk and green garlic. Place over medium heat and bring to just under a boil. Remove from heat and steep for about 15 minutes. When ready to prepare soufflé, bring milk back to just under a boil, then strain out and discard garlic.
In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir briskly with a wooden spoon until butter and flour come together, being careful not to let mixture brown, about 1 minute. Add hot milk, all at once, and whisk to blend well. Add salt and pepper, whisking continuously, until béchamel becomes thick, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add egg yolks, one at a time, until incorporated. Add Comté, nutmeg, and dry mustard (if using) and stir until fully combined.
Transfer soufflé base to a large bowl and let cool slightly. In a large, very clean, preferably copper bowl, beat egg whites with a large balloon whisk until firm peaks form. Stir a large spoonful of whipped egg whites into base to begin lightening it. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in remaining egg whites, working quickly to keep base light and airy. Pour finished mixture into prepared baking dish, filling to just below the lip of the dish. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake until top is golden brown and lifted about 2 inches over edge of dish, 25 to 30 minutes (15 to 18 minutes for ramekins). Do not open oven during baking or soufflé will fall. Serves 8.