Don’t aspire for perfection in terms of looks with this dish – as you can see from the image to the side below, I don’t! I follow the Nigel Slater constructive approach,
“don’t worry if your soufflés don’t rise perfectly all the way round like some whizz-kid chef’s. Yours may rise more on one side than the other. They may even crack a little on top. Yours will be better than the chef’s perfect version. Yours will have charm. And anyway no one likes a clever Dick.”
Contrary to what you might think this soufflé is surprisingly robust. I once cooked it for some returning skiers. Only their return was delayed when the lift broke down. I turned down the oven to 80°C. When they finally turned up, an hour late, yes, the soufflé had lost half of its height and all of its Wow! factor but it still tasted wonderful.
This asparagus soufflé goes very well with ham, or with leftover gammon and a green salad. Follow this link to a selection of some sixteen or so salads to choose from.
Serve with mustard, or with mustard and oregano fried bread (go to this post to find out how to do that).
Recipe for cheats’ ‘souper’ asparagus soufflé
for six (half of this is enough for two, or three)
- 40g/4 tbsp/4 ‘knobs’ butter
- 6 tbsp flour (doesn’t matter what kind)
- 2 x 400g cream of asparagus* soup (NB not condensed)
- 8 eggs
- generous grinds of Indonesian long pepper, but no salt (there’s enough in the soup)
- good quality sweet smoked paprika
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- grease a soufflé dish
- in a large saucepan melt the butter
- add flour and make into a paste, don’t let it burn
- add the pepper and the soup, keep stirring to ensure it doesn’t get lumpy. take off heat
- get a large, clean, dry metal bowl to hand
- separate the eggs one at a time, putting the white in the metal bowl and the yolk directly into the soup mixture, beating in immediately
- whisk the whites until stiff
- with a large metal spoon, take some of the soup mixture and mix in with the whites, do this about twice. then mix the frothy white mixture into the soup mixture, keeping as much air as possible in the whole thing (the less stirring the better, three or four quick vertical stirring movements should be enough)
- pour into the soufflé dish and cook for about 35 minutes
- sprinkle a little paprika on the cooked asparagus soufflé and serve with the ham and, if feeling saintly, the lip-service green salad. Alternatively try either some stir-fried cabbage with sesame oil and seeds, or braised sesame shredded cabbage, or tomato and lambs’ lettuce salad.
*you can experiment with any white ‘cream of’ soup – chicken, mushroom, or celery for example. If you make the mushroom version you could garnish each serving with some fried sage leaves.
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