A Royal Soufflé

Mom was the queen of soufflés. She could whip them up in a snap, creating a velvety béchamel while she talked on the phone. She whisked egg whites to perfection, achieving a cloud-like consistency she delicately folded into the shiny batter. This was one of her signature dishes that would brighten up any special occasion at home, as well as our weekly Saturday family lunches on the terrace.

On the table, the fluffy soufflé was the perfect foil to a salty tenderloin filet or juicy skirt steak seared and cooked on the nearby grill. (I was in charge of the Caesar Salad, which I tossed with tangy anchovies in an enormous bowl large enough to feed a small village.) There was crusty bread, Spanish red wine, Dad’s smooth jazz, and a lazy fan circling above us. We ate, listened to my Aunt Tiita’s gossip, talked, and laughed. We ended these long and sweet afternoon meals with a spongy and cool Tres Leches picked up at a nearby repostería and a Dominican cafecito.

This weekend, sifting through Mom’s recipe boxes, I came across her Asparagus Soufflé. After a visit to the farmer’s market which yielded two pints of strawberries, a fresh loaf of ciabatta, blushing radishes, and a hearty bunch of spring asparagus, I was inspired to make it for brunch. It turned out to be golden, savory and light as air. Just as Mom would have liked it.

Cora’s Asparagus Soufflé

for 4-6 people

You’ll need:

10-12 green asparagus

1/2 stick butter

6 tblsp. wheat flour (regular flour also works!)

1 tblsp. salt

1 1/2 cup of milk

6 eggs

1 tblsp. lemon juice

2 tblsp. of grated parmesano

Preparation:

Heat 2 cups of water in a shall pan with a pinch of salt. Once it boils, drop in the asparagus and cook for 2-3 min. Once the asparagus turns bright green, remove and drop them in a bowl of ice water. Once cool, remove and chop into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

For the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add flour, salt, and mix until combined. Whisk milk in slowly. Simmer until sauce starts to thicken, making sure to stir continuously.

In a separate bowl, separate the yolks from egg whites. Mix the yolks until combined.

Combine asparagus with bechamel sauce. Temper the egg yolks with a tablespoon of the warm sauce and mix. Add the yolks to asparagus mixture. Stir in lemon juice and parmesan cheese.

On the side beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks (about 5 min.) Fold the egg whites in the asparagus mixture gently. The combined mixture should look light and fluffy.

Pour into a greased pan. I used an 8″ x 3″ round pan, and it be a slightly different size. Just make sure it’s large enough to hold the batter snugly. Cook the soufflé in a Bain Marie for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Serve with country bread for brunch or as a side next time you use the grill.


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