Chef John’s Asparagus Souffle

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I LOVE Chef John. I discovered him on allrecipes.com. He’s one of the video bloggers that shows how to make dishes. Interestingly enough, he used to be a chef instructor at the California Culinary Academy! Even though I’m not in culinary school, I’m grateful to have access to lessons by a friendly and experienced chef like John. There’s something about the way he talks and his enthusiasm for the food he’s making that makes me feel like I can make it too! That’s why I tried this souffle. He made it seem so easy. And it was, for the most part. BUT, it also reminded me that professionals pretty much always make their profession look easy. It’s deceiving, really.

In this case, I’m referring to his egg whisking abilities. I probably should have done some research on proper technique before trying it out, but I didn’t. Instead of using an electric mixer, I spent maybe 20 mins doing my version of whisking. OUCH! Seriously, after 10 mins I was tired of standing at a counter (not made for someone who is 5’1’’) so I sat on the floor of my kitchen until my eggs were nice and fluffy. At least I worked on my endurance. And, in the end, my souffle was successful! So thanks, Chef John!

After trying this souffle, Carlos and I realized that we had never had a souffle before. It was good, it tasted like asparagus and cheese in some kind of fluffy marshmallow form. The texture was definitely new to us and the dish was very rich. I think some of the richness was due to the Parmesan cheese and I would really like to try this with the white Cheddar cheese Chef John suggests. We couldn’t find white Cheddar at our local grocery store, so I’ll have to look elsewhere next time, but I want to try it. I might not make this on the regular, maybe just on special occasions, but I think it’s a neat way to eat vegetables!

Here’s a slide show on electric egg whipping: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2010/02/how-to-beat-egg-whites-baking-meringues-chiffon-cakes-souffles-slideshow.html#show-73539

Here’s a video on hand whipping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwAgIUxaQ10

To see how Chef John makes his souffle, click on the button that says see how to make this recipe below the picture on the link to the recipe.

Chef John’s Asparagus Souffle: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chef-Johns-Asparagus-Souffle/Detail.aspx

Ingredients:

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup cold milk

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

1/2 clove garlic, minced

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup grated sharp white Cheddar cheese or Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Cook asparagus in a saucepan of boiling water until bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer asparagus to ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and stir until mixture becomes paste-like and light golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  3. Whisk milk into butter-flour mixture; bring to a simmer and cook until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne pepper.
  4. Place milk mixture, garlic, and asparagus in a blender and puree until smooth.
  5. Pour asparagus mixture into a large bowl; stir in egg yolks and Cheddar cheese.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
  7. Generously butter 4 (6-ounce) ramekins
  8. Beat egg whites in a large glass or metal mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Lift your beater or whisk straight up: the egg whites will form soft mounds rather than a sharp peak
  9. Stir half of egg whites into asparagus cheese mixture until just combined. Gently fold remaining egg whites into mixture.
  10. Fill prepared ramekins about 3/4 full and place on a baking sheet; bake in the preheated oven until edges are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes
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