Yep. More strawberries. Unfortunately, my stomach is now too big for me to bend over and pick them myself, so I have to rely on B., who not only works 12 hours some days, but is also saddled with the myriad other tasks I’m now unable to do. (Weeding, picking up dog poop, et al.) Needless to say, we’re still getting them, just not always before time and the sun have taken their toll. I admit this recipe is something of a work in progress; I’ve noted changes I’d still like to institute for next time, and tinkering at all levels is welcome…just let me know what you did and how it turned out. It should be served with salad and a lot of balsamic vinaigrette to pour over both the soufflé and greens.
The amount below fills one 1 1/2-quart ramekin. For us, it’s 2 servings with a salad.
• 1 cup hulled and quartered strawberries* (or, if they’re large, maybe cut into fifths or sixths) (garden): $0
• 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled (this is cheapest at Grocery Outlet and Trader Joe’s): $2.50
• 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or possibly more): 1 cent
• 1 cup whole milk: 16 cents
• 5 eggs (garden): $0
• 3 T butter, plus more for buttering ramekin(s): 18 cents
• 3 T fine bread crumbs: $0
• Salt: 1 cent
• Pinch of cream of tartar: 1 cent
• Salad greens (garden): $0
• Balsamic vinaigrette (I just put some in a jar with some olive oil to taste and shake it up): 10 cents
TOTAL: $2.97/2 = $1.49/serving
*I initially used 1/2 a cup, not wanting to introduce too much liquid or solids into the souffle, but it wasn’t nearly enough, so I’d highly recommend a cup.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Spread strawberries on a nonstick cookie sheet (or cookie sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat) and roast, about 8-10 minutes. Roasting both gets rid of some of the excess liquid and concentrates the strawberry flavor.
Butter your ramekin thoroughly and coat with bread crumbs so the soufflé doesn’t stick to the sides and can rise freely.
Melt the 3 T butter in a medium saucepan. Once foaming has subsided, add 3 T flour and stir until a roux has formed.
Cook, stirring constantly, until roux is a light brown color, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes or until very thick, stirring often. Add the black pepper. (I was initially using 1/2 tsp, but it was nowhere near enough, so I’d start with 1 tsp and maybe even go up from there, if you’re feeling brave.) Remove from heat and stir in the goat cheese. Season to taste with salt. (You want it to be fairly salty, since it’s going to be mixed with the unflavored egg whites.) Fold in the strawberries.
Separate the five egg whites into a VERY CLEAN bowl or bowl of a stand mixer (even if you think it’s clean, you may want to wash it again first; even a speck of grease can cause your eggs not to fluff up. Along those lines, if you get a speck of yolk in your whites, you’ll have to start over. I know it sucks, but I promise this is the hardest part of soufflé making, and it’ll make you really good at separating eggs) and stir the four yolks, one at a time, into the base. Reserve the fifth yolk for another use.
Add a pinch of cream of tartar to the whites to stabilize them and beat with a mixer until they’re forming stiff peaks but are still glossy.
With a rubber spatula, remove about 1/4 of the whites and fold into the base to lighten it. Pour the now lightened mixture back into the whites and fold lightly with the spatula to combine. Don’t stir too vigorously; it’s best to have some streaks of white than to end up bursting all the egg-white bubbles. The mixture should be light and quite foamy. Pour it into the prepared ramekin and place in the oven. Cook for about 30-35 minutes at 375 F, until risen and top is browned. (Don’t open the oven door for the first 20 minutes.)
Remove from oven and serve immediately, as it will start to deflate as soon as you take it out. Serve alongside the salad, with both the greens and the soufflé drizzled with vinaigrette.