Once again I decided to take on a retro recipe inspired by The Food Network’s forum topic dedicated to retro cooking and baking. What would be more class than making a soufflé? Something I had never done before, perfect! I love a challenge.
I must have sensed this opportunity because I spontaneously picked up a container of fresh crab meat on sale so I decided to try The Jewels of New York’s recipe for Crab Soufflé. It takes a little bit of time and quite a few steps but hey, we are talking about a soufflé here.
You begin with steeping tarragon, garlic, shallots and thyme in milk that you bring to a boil. Quickly remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. My husband does not eat shellfish so I divided the recipe in half so as not to waste any food. Also, I did not have fresh tarragon so I had to use dried and wow, the scent of tarragon takes me back to my childhood when my mom would make Béarnaise sauce. Going retro already! After the flavours steep into the milk, strain.
Begin making your roux by melting butter and then adding the flour. Stir for a minute or so then gradually whisk in the milk, some salt, pepper, cayenne (optional), paprika and some freshly ground nutmeg. Remove from heat and then add egg yolks one at a time. Then I added the crab meat and Parmesan cheese. It was very thick so I added a little milk to loosen it up.
Whip up some egg whites with cream of tartar to soft peaks. This is where a hand mixer comes in handy!
Begin by adding one third of the whipped egg whites to the crab mixture to lighten it up. After that has incorporated fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Divide into ramekins that have been buttered and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375F for 20 to 25 minutes.
I love that you can see the paprika on the top of the soufflé like saffron threads! My souffle did not get huge but it did puff up and the flavours were wonderful. I wish I had seasoned more with salt but that was my mistake.
What a treat this was on a week day lunch to have all to myself! I was so excited that I had finally made a soufflé that I called my mom to tell her. She said she remembers having a soufflé once and thinking, what is the big deal? It is true, it is a bit of work and a lot of calories but it was like eating a seafood cloud. Something I will never forget.