Asparagus and Cheese Soufflé

  • Prep Time
    30 minutes
  • Cook Time
    35 minutes
  • Serving
  • View

I’m just going to come right out and say it.  This soufflé was the most amazing thing I have ever taken out of my oven.  I cooked it at 375 degrees for EXACTLY 35 minutes.  I made this on a Saturday night when I wasn’t really starving because I had a late lunch with my mom.  It was perfect with a glass of champagne.

This recipe came from the iconic Silver Palate Cookbook which was published in 1982 (written by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins).  I have owned at least three copies of this book, having lost a few copies in various breakups and relocations.  A few years ago, I downsized my book collection after an overladen shelf fell over on my head and I was nearly buried in a mountain of cookbooks. But this is one of the “keepers,” that I will always have at my fingertips.  I love this cookbook.  The pictures, the simple instructions, the sidebars with informative advice on wines, cheese and entertaining… somehow this book never goes out of style.  I took the following excerpt from a 2017 article on the Bon Appetit web site written by Ashley Mason.  I agree with Ashley!

It’s not every day you flip open a 35-year-old cookbook and think, “Hey, I’m making that coq au vin for dinner tonight.” Older cookbooks—including classics like Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking-School Cook Book and Mastering the Art of French Cooking—call to mind the sort of fancy dishes (brandied beef, for example, or scalloped potatoes) your grandmother or mom might have happily served at a dinner party. Classy, sure, but we’re not whisking that up on any given Tuesday in 2017.

The Silver Palate Cookbook is the exception. Published in 1982 by Manhattan-based duo Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, its recipes mix Spanish, Mediterranean, and Asian flavors in a time when everyone was obsessed with French cooking techniques. Lukins and Rosso introduced their readers to arugula, pancetta, and pesto way before it was cool. Now, it’s hard to find a New American restaurant (or food magazine) that doesn’t use these ingredients.

Food director Carla Lalli Music’s mom, Carole Lalli, a cookbook editor at Simon & Schuster, produced Rosso’s next cookbook Great Good Food. She remembers how Silver Palate’s changes to familiar recipes—like adding Italian sausage to beef chili—were revelatory at the time. “For the generation before, it was very labor intensive to cook some of the things from Julia [Child] or Craig [Claiborne’s cookbooks],” Carole says. “[Rosso and Lukins] liberated a lot of people by showing them how to make really good food from scratch without working all day.”


Asparagus Souffle


    Let your eggs come to room temperature. Get all ingredients in place. You want to whip the egg whites just before you are ready to put the souffle in the oven. Pre-heat it to 375 degrees.

    Step 1

    Prepare your souffle dish. Coat/rub the dish with soft butter and then dust with grated parmesan cheese. Make a collar from parchment paper, coat it with butter too, and sprinkle parmesan cheese on it. Tie it around your dish with butcher string.

    Step 2

    Make the Bechamel sauce by melting the butter, sautéing the onion, then adding the room temp milk and whisking constantly. See directions for a Bechamel sauce on this site. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.

    Step 3

    When the Bechamel is cool or almost cool, beat in 4 egg yolks, one at a time. Whisk vigorously after each egg is added.

    Step 4

    Add the pureed asparagus and the cheese to the Bechamel.

    Step 5

    Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.

    Step 6

    Fold the egg whites into the Bechamel batter, one third at a time. Pour the batter into the souffle dish.

    Step 7

    Sprinkle some cheese on the top of the souffle then put it in the oven immediately. Don't open the oven door! Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

    Step 8

    Take the towering souffle out of the oven. Take a bow. Have a glass of champagne.

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