Blue Cheese-Asparagus Souffle

It finally happened – this week, with a massive storm on the East Coast and actual snow and sleet in DC, I could not longer pretend it wasn’t winter. Unfortunately, most warming winter meals are very heavy, and I was not in the mood for anything along those lines. So what is light but winter-y? Souffle! Despite my slight mishaps with the sweet potato souffle over Thanksgiving, it seemed like a good time to try again. And ok, so asparagus is a more spring vegetable, but oh well.

Bechamel Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup and a bit of milk
1 egg yolk

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Once its melted add the flour and mix it in. Pour in the milk and whisk continuously – making sure the butter-flour mixture melts completely into the milk. Its important to stir constantly, to prevent any sticking on the bottom, or lumps. Once the sauce has thickened, add the salt, pepper and nutmeg – a pinch or two of each, according to your taste. Set it aside to cool for a while. Once cool, add the egg yolk

1/2 lb of asparagus, cut into chunks
4 egg whites
3-4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

While the sauce is cooling, steam the asparagus until tender. Make sure not to overcook it, because it will still go into the oven, but you should be able to pierce it with a fork. Put the egg whites in a large bowl and beat on high with an electric beater for several minutes, until soft peaks form. Put about 1/2 the asparagus and cheese into the sauce and mix them in. Then add about 1/2 the egg whites and fold them in, gently. Add the remaining Asparagus, cheese, and egg whites and fold them all in, gently. Don’t stir. Fold. Carefully. Pour into buttered ramekins (3 or 4 depending on the size) and fill about 3/4 full. Put in the oven and bake at 375 for 2 minutes, or until puffy and getting golden brown on top.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

It rose!! It actually rose this time – I was so excited. I’m not quite sure what made it different this time, but there you go – souffles are mysterious like that. It was also light, fluffy, and tasty, exactly how I wanted it to be. I do wish I had put more asparagus in there though. Maybe next time. The blue cheese was perfect. Baking mellows cheese a lot, so the blue worked really well – not overpowering at all. Serve with a red wine. Nothing too complex, maybe a good Shiraz or Malbec. Song of the week: Happier by Guster. This song always hits a chord within me for some reason – it’s hard to describe why, so just listen to it.

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