So what I was really craving for dinner on Saturday night was buffalo wings with celery sticks and creamy blue cheese dressing. But buffalo wings does not a meal make. Especially when it was my husband's first night home after his long project. So I decided to reconstruct the essentials of wings into a meal.
I decided to translate the blue cheese dressing into a blue cheese souffle.
The wings were a more literal translation; I stuffed a a chicken breast with a crunchy celery stuffing and sauteed it in butter and hot pepper sauce. I served it along with a baby green salad with a refreshing raspberry vinaigrette.
The blue cheese souffle was absolutely amazing and surprisingly easy to make. I have heard horror stories about souffles but I threw caution to the wind and gave it a whirl anyway. I think patience is the key to a good souffle. Keeping the heat low and slow seems to be really important. Also, not worrying about completely incorporating the fluffy egg whites into the yolk and milk mix is important. I didn't even really fold them in too much, just a quick flip over and figured it was enough...and it was. The souffle held it's height and it was fluffy and creamy and just plain wonderful.
3 T unsalted butter, plus more for greasing ramekins
2-3 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese ( I didn't have this so I just used flour)
3 T all-purpose flour
1 c milk (I used skim)
5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
½ tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp. dry mustard powder (I was all out of this, so I used 1T prepared mustard, it was fine)
6 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (I used 4 oz blue cheese and 2 oz aged white cheddar)
5 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the ramekins by rubbing the insides all over with butter. Divide the Parmigiano among the ramekins, holding them sideways and spinning them around to get the cheese to adhere to the sides. This gives the souffle something to cling to. ( This is where I used the extra flour)
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. When it is completely melted and the foam subsides, add the flour as you whisk constantly to form a smooth béchamel sauce. Cook for about two minutes, whisking constantly, to remove the raw flour taste. Slowly add the milk as you continue to whisk until incorporated and slightly thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Whisk a small dollop of the hot butter-flour mixture into the egg yolks so they don’t cook when you add them to the saucepan. Now add the tempered yolks to your saucepan, whisking to incorporate. Add the salt, pepper and dry mustard. Whisk in the blue cheese.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the saucepan and gently fold them into the cheesy mixture with a spatula. Add the remaining whites in two more additions, folding them in gently. It is not necessary to fully incorporate the egg whites. Since the goal of folding is to preserve as much of their volume as possible, it is okay to see small bits of whites in the mixture. Divide the souffle mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins. Bake, directly on your oven rack, for 25 minutes. The tops should form golden brown, jagged plateaus and the centers should jiggle ever so slightly. For the most beautiful presentation, serve immediately.
This recipe was adapted from Tyler Florence but I found it at aminglingoftastes.com. Also, I used 1 2 quart souffle dish, but according to A Mingling of Tatses, you can use 4 8oz ramekins or 6 6oz ramekins.