Chanterelle Souffle

July 26th, 2009 / Comments 2

As a vendor at the farmers’ market I arrive before the market opens and that means that I don’t miss wonders like wild mushrooms even if there is a very limited quantity for sale. As I was setting up my paintings my neighbor was arranging punnets of foraged chanterelles.

chanterelle+03 Chanterelle Souffle
I had heard about chanterelles, about the amazing flavor, the ideal recipes – it always seems to include butter, the joy of foraging and the determination to never reveal the location of the hidden chanterelle patch; this was my opportunity to eat chanterelles.

I decided to celebrate these beauties in a simple soufflé. Yes, you can use the adjective ‘simple’ to modify the noun ‘soufflé’. This soufflé has two components – an egg yolk enriched, chanterelle flavored sauce and stiffly beaten egg whites, not any more complicated than an angel food cake. Here’s how I did it:

chanterelle+01 Chanterelle SouffleChanterelle Soufflé

A soufflé does not wait for time or tide so it is important to be organized. I began by pre-heating the oven to 400 degrees and prepared a six-cup, ceramic soufflé dish by smearing butter onto the bottom and sides, rolled breadcrumbs in it, and then I tipped the dish upside down to get rid of the excess.

With a soft cloth I wiped away any dirt or debris on the chanterelles before sautéing them along with three scallions in a tablespoon of unsalted butter. When they were tender and most of the liquid had evaporated, I seasoned them with salt and freshly ground pepper and left them to cool.

I separate five eggs, put the egg white in the mixer bowl and four of the egg yolks into a small bowl. The fifth egg yolk went into Rosie’s dinner bowl.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, I cooked three tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of flour over moderate heat. I wanted this mixture to foam but not brown and I cooked it for about two minutes. Off the heat, when it had stopped foaming, I poured in one cup of boiling milk and beat if with a wire whisk until it was smooth and then returned it to the heat and boiled, while stirring with the whisk, for another minute to make a very thick white sauce.

Off the heat, I added the egg yolks, one at a time, beating with the whisk between additions. When all of the egg yolks were incorporated, I stirred in the chanterelles, three quarters of a cup of grated Swiss cheese, a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

With my electric mixer, I beat the egg whites along with a pinch of salt to shiny stiff peaks, stirred a quarter of the egg whites into the sauce to lighten it and then folded in the remainder. With a tablespoon of grated cheese sprinkled on top, the soufflé went into the oven. I turned the oven down to 375 and set the timer for thirty minutes.

If your oven has a glass door, you might want to pull up a chair and watch the egg whites and the heat do their magic, if not, you need to patiently wait until the timer buzzes. Opening the door in the midst of cooking will shock the soufflé into a sinking spell from which it will not recover.
Corkscrew+01 Chanterelle Souffle

While the soufflé cooks, prepare a simple salad, set the table, pour the wine – remember – Diners wait – a soufflé does not.
When ready, the soufflé will be puffed about two inches over the rim, the top will be browned, and the center still a bit creamy, if you want the soufflé to be a bit drier in the center and a bit less delicate you can bake it for five minutes more. Puncture the top with two forks and spread it apart to serve. This recipe was dinner for two with a bit left as a reward for the dishwasher, Charles.

notes – any mushrooms will work, cooked and seasoned spinach or broccoli can replace the mushrooms, use parmesan cheese instead of bread crumbs. If your kitche is a gluten free zone, use another starch to thicken the white sauce and cheese instead of bread crumbs.

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Chanterelle Souffle List

  • butter and breadcrumbs to coat dish
  • 1 pint chanterelles
  • 3 scallions
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 c milk
  • 3/4 c Swiss cheese
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
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• 2 Responses to “Chanterelle Souffle”

  • Carol Egbert says:

    Thanks, I found that blogging combines three of my favorite things cooking, painting, and writing.

  • Wasabi Prime says:

    Oh my — chanterelles are dreamy. Who am I kidding, all mushrooms are! Speaking of dreamy, the watercolors are just lovely. I like the mixed media approach!

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