Do you think a perfect cheese soufflé brought billowing and fragrant to the table the exclusive provenance of French chefs and culinary over-achievers? Think again! If you know how to separate an egg and have just a few other basic ingredients in your fridge, there is little to prevent you from turning out a sublimely lofty French soufflé any day of the week.
The process for a savory soufflé is the same as for a sweet one: Make the base with egg yolks, milk or cream, and flavorings, then whip egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl. The whites are “folded” into the base with a spatula to create the final mixture, which rises delicately while baking in the oven, thanks to the air that’s been incorporated into the whites.
The following soufflé recipes should be simple enough to encourage even the reticent cook with the promise of an easy dinner. Paired with a crisp green salad and a chilled bottle of white wine (or Champagne, of course!), your meal is complete.
Gruyère and Parmesan are the dynamic duo of cheese soufflés, lending just the right mix of salty and smooth to the French classic. If your soufflé mixture fills more than two-thirds of your dish, tie a parchment “collar” around the dish (see top photo) to encourage a nice rise and avoid any spillage.
Leeks offer a mild onion flavor to this easy-to-prepare dish. Sautéed with fresh thyme in plenty of butter, they become both sweet and tender.
Thawed, frozen corn works just as well as the fresh in this timeless classic. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn kernels to sub in for 2 ears of fresh.
Fresh, tangy goat cheese makes a creamy partner for fresh thyme and tarragon. Here, as in most soufflé recipes, the dish is buttered then coated with grated Parmesan to create the perfect rough surface to which the egg mixture can adhere as it rises, developing its signature crisp, cheesy crust.