Watercress & cheddar souffle

by Fiona Smith | Cuisine issue #156
Serves: 4Though the very word may fill some with dread, making a souffle is simple.

The main criteria for success are that the egg whites need to be folded in carefully and the oven door must remain closed while the souffle is baking. I have chosen to cook this version in a baking dish, which also removes a little fear as you don’t need it to rise as much as in a traditional souffle dish.

65g butter
200g strong cheddar cheese, grated
40g flour
275ml milk
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon mustard powder100g watercress, very finely chopped (you can do this in the food processor)
5 eggs, separated
warmed baguette to serve

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter a 1.75-litre baking dish well with 25g of the butter then sprinkle 50g of the cheese over the butter, tapping the dish to coat it.

Melt the remaining 40g butter in a saucepan then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes – do not brown. Gradually stir in the cold milk and continue to stir over the heat until the mixture becomes thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and mustard. Transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly, stir in the remaining cheese and watercress then beat in the egg yolks. Set aside (don’t allow it to cool).

In a clean (not plastic) bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks.

Mix one-third of the egg whites into the cheese mixture then use a metal spoon to carefully fold in the remaining egg whites.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 25 minutes or until golden and risen.

Serve immediately with pieces of warm baguette.

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