This recipe comes from The Cook's Atelier: Recipes, Techniques, and Stories from Our French Cooking School by Marjorie Taylor, Kendall Smith Franchini, with beautiful photographs (often full-page) by Anson Smart. In the introduction to this recipe, it says "in the springtime, we like to infuse the milk with fresh green garlic, ramps, or even a bouquet garni before preparing the béchamel." Since my trip to a local grocery with local produce included a bunch of ramps, and ramps have such as short shelf life, I decided they would be perfect in this souffle! I will include the recipe as it occurs in the cookbook but add notes at the end so you can see my changes.
Green Garlic Soufflé (which I made into Wild Ramp Soufflé)
5 tbsp (30 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) whole milk
8 stalks young, green garlic, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise
3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for the mold
1/4 cup (30 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup (85 g) coarsely grated Comté or Gruyere cheese
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp dry mustard (optional)
7 large egg whites
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C). Butter the inside of a 6-cup (1.4 L) soufflé mold or eight individual 1-cup (240 ml) ramekins. Sprinkle the inside of the mold(s) with some of the Parmesan, reserving any excess. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the milk and green garlic. Place over medium heat and bring to just under a boil. Remove from the heat and steep for about 15 minutes to infuse the garlic into the milk. When ready to prepare the soufflé, bring the milk back to just under a boil, then strain out and discard the garlic.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir briskly with a wooden spoon until the butter and flour come together, being careful not to let the mixture brown, about 1 minute. Add the hot milk, all at once, and whisk to blend well. Add the salt and pepper, whisking continuously, until the béchamel becomes thick, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the cheese, nutmeg, and dry mustard (if using) and stir until fully combined. Transfer the soufflé base to a large bowl and let cool slightly.
In a large, very clean, preferably copper bowl, use a large balloon whisk to beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Stir a large spoonful of the whipped egg whites into the base to begin lightening it. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites, working quickly to keep the base light and airy.
Pour the finished mixture into the prepared mold(s), filling it just below the top rim. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the top is golden brown and lifted about 2 inches (5 cm) over the edge of the mold, 25-30 minutes (15-18 minutes for the ramekins). Do not be tempted to open the oven during baking or the soufflé will fall. Serve immediately.
Jenny's notes: First, check out the wooden spoon sent from the folks at The Cook's Atelier for a holiday gift. I saved it to use with their cookbook so I used it for the bechamel part of the recipe. When it said to whisk, I just used the spoon, not sure if I should have also used a whisk. Speaking of equipment, I don't have copper bowls; I just used my KitchenAid to beat the egg whites and thought it worked fine.
As far as ingredient replacement, I used 8 ramps for the 8 stalks of green garlic. I cleaned them very well and trimmed off the roots, but used the entire ramp from bulb to leaf. I ripped the ramps up into pieces before infusing with the milk, hoping for more release of flavor. I could taste it in the souffle but thought it was well-balanced with the other flavors.
I only had canned Parmesan so I used a brick of manchego for all the cheese parts of this recipe. Manchego is one of my favorite cheeses. I also decided to leave out the dry mustard, but ended up wishing I'd had one more flavor, maybe.
Souffles are not hard, but the one thing that really helps is having everything ready before you start. That includes the dish!
Other recipes I looked at: Almond-Cherry Galette, Gougeres, Lemon Soufflés.
This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.