Friday, February 8, 2013

Recipe 14: Eggplant Tomato Souffle

Eggplant Tomato Souffle
For a very long time, I've wondered if it was possible to make souffle in a Le Creuset.  I mean, sure, maybe.  But all that food science of hot metal vs. hot ceramic or glass, cold fluffed liquids meeting hot things, etc. etc. had me doubting.  Doubting, that is, until I stumbled across this recipe for a flourless chocolate cake that sounded souffle-like (except upon reread...not at all), specifically for Le Creuset - so I decided to try.

Naturally, being insane, I decided not to take the simple route.  I wanted to use some roasted eggplant I'd saved up from my summer farm share, and had some whole canned tomatoes.  You know, logical heavy choices for a dish that is supposed to defy gravity.  However, I'm really glad I did have this moment of insanity and food science experimentation; it worked and it was delicious.

You will use all the dishes!
I adapted an Eggplant Souffle recipe from Kitchen Bitch to use what I had on hand; I suspect that you can do the same, using the same skeleton ingredients for a savory souffle.  Substitute cheeses, use different veggies, etc.  It will probably taste awesome!  I suspect the most important thing to not mess up is making sure to cook out a lot of the liquid in the vegetables - that'll be what goes wrong, if something does.  Everything else, while slightly complicated (aka, you will use all pots and pans and bowls in your kitchen, and whisk, whip, and chop), is pretty straight-forward.  It's a perfect dish for a snowy breakfast, brunch, or dinner...especially when it's the snowpocalypse part 34.

Recipe below

Eggplant Tomato Souffle (in a Le Creuset)
Adapted from Kitchen Bitch
Serves 4-6

Olive oil to saute (not much, maybe a tsp-Tbsp)
1 medium or half a white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 roasted, skinless eggplant, chopped or pulled into small pieces
5 whole canned tomatoes, squeezed of juice and chopped
1 tsp oregano (dried)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne, divided into 2 1/8 portions
3.5 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups low-fat milk
1 tsp parsley (dried)
7 egg whites
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 oz goat cheese

1.  Prepare yourself mentally to use, like all the bowls, while you preheat your oven to 400.
2.  In a saute or frying pan, heat oil over medium, and when it is hot, saute the onion and garlic, stirring often, for approximately four minutes.
3.  Add in the eggplant and tomatoes, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add in the oregano, 1/8 tsp cayenne, and salt and pepper.  Cook for a few more minutes until the mixture is well combined and much of the initial moisture is cooked out, but not dried through (we want some life in them!).  Remove from heat and let cool.
4.  In a large saucepan, melt your butter over medium, whisking in the flour one Tbsp at a time (4 Tbsp = 1/4 cup).  Meanwhile, heat your milk in the microwave for approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds (you want warm, not scalding).   Add it, pouring slowly, and whisking constantly to thicken it.  Whisk in most of the cheeses and 1/8 of the cayenne, reserving some Parmesan to coat the top of the dish and the bottom of the pan. When it is well combined, remove from heat, whisk in the egg yolks, stir in the veggies and parsley, and let cool.
5.  Meannnnnwhile, if you haven't poured yourself a drink yet, this is probably a good time to do so.
6.  Beat your egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Don't try and be a hero - this is what electric mixers were invented for.
7.  If your milk mixture pot is cool, use it.  If not, grab another large bowl, and pour in the milk mixture.  Working in three batches, fold in the egg whites.
8. Prepare a smaller sized Le Creuset dutch oven by coating the sides with butter or cooking spray (I used spray), and sprinkle half the reserved cheese on the bottom.  Pour in the mixture, and sprinkle the remaining cheese across the top.
9.  Place uncovered in the oven, close, and immediately drop the temperature down to 375.  Cook for approximately 30-35 minutes (may take more or less), until the top is nicely browned, the contents don't wiggle when you move the pot around, and a skewer comes out clean.
10.  Let cool for five minutes and serve hot with some wine, a leafy green salad, and crusty bread, before the magic fades and the souffle sinks back in on itself a bit and your guests cease to be amazed by your skillz.  
Eggplant Tomato Souffle (in a Le Creuset)

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