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Cheese Soufflé

(recipe, Judith Jones)


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Introduction

The other day, at a French brasserie across the street from our offices in New York, I ordered their single soufflé served with a green salad. It was a perfect lunch, and I went away wondering why I didn't make soufflés any more. It's not only a good way to use up some of the bits of cheeses you may have around, as well as other leftovers that need reincarnation, but it's lovely to behold and scrumptious to eat. But to make it for one? I was sure it could be done, so I purchased myself a one-person, fluted soufflé dish, 2¾ inches high and 4 inches in diameter, and proved that it could. My recipe is based on the eight pages of careful instructions that Julia Child devoted to making the perfect soufflé in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Ingredients

  1. ½ tsp. soft butter and 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan for preparing the mold
  2. 2 tsp. butter
  3. 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  4. ⅓ cup milk
  5. Large pinch of salt
  6. Small pinch of paprika
  7. 1 egg yolk
  8. 2 egg whites
  9. ⅓ cup tightly packed grated cheese (an aged Cheddar, a Swiss cheese, and aged mountain cheese)

Steps

  1. Smear the soft butter around the inside of your mold, and sprinkle the Parmesan around the sides and bottom. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Melt the 2 teaspoons of butter in a small pot, and stir in the flour. Let cook over low heat for a minute, then remove from the heat for a moment's rest. Now pour the milk, whisking vigorously, and return to low heat to simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly as the sauce thickens. Season with the salt and paprika. Again remove from the heat, and whisk in the egg yolk.
  3. Put the egg whites in a clean bowl, and beat until they form soft peaks. Add a dollop of the egg whites to the sauce, and mix in along with about half the cheese. Now fold in the rest of the egg whites and the cheese, and transfer everything to the prepared mold.
  4. Set in the middle of the oven, and turn the heat down to 375. Bake for 18 minutes, until the top is slightly browned and the soufflé has risen.

Note

Variations: You can make this single soufflé using about 3 tablespoons of finely chopped cooked green vegetables or a couple of tablespoons of mushroom duxelles, or some minced ham, in which case you would want to use only a tablespoon of a milder cheese, such as Swiss.