Soufflé e variazioni

It may not be original (see Orangette's post or her recent article and recipe in Bon Appetit, May 2008) that I have been making so many soufflés lately, but they serve so many purposes:

1) gluten-free dining (I substitute rice flour for wheat flour for the base);
2) fun with eggs (I never cease to be delighted by the many forms that eggs can take);
3) ovo-lacto, vegetarian substitute for meat-heavy main courses;
4) they are something that my Chinese in-laws can recognize as food!

This particular cheese soufflé is Julia Child's recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. For mine, I used Asiago and cabrales cheeses from Westside Market. Since I discovered the
soufflé section in Child's book about a month ago, I've had such fun making all sorts of soufflés: the classic cheese soufflé; spinach soufflé; a soufflé with fresh asparagus from the Union Square greenmarket; rice soufflé from 1080 Recipes; and finally, a sweet one: chocolate soufflé (à la Julia Child).

I actually came to soufflés by way of desserts several months ago, when I realized that a flourless almond cake that I made for a dinner party (whose origin unfortunately escapes me at the moment) used almost exactly the same technique as another flourless cake ("Earth Apple Torte") that arrived in my mailbox one day from the Vegetarian Times, and was a success when I made it for a dinner party some time ago. Given that I can't eat gluten, the technique seemed like genius, using the lift of beaten eggs whites to give body and structure to the cake instead of flour and yeast. Now that I'm working my way through the variations on the theme, I cannot believe that I have gone all of these years without making my own soufflés!

The accompanying wine was Torrontes, from Argentina.

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