Thursday, August 10, 2006

Muenster Cheese Souffle w/ red pepper and tomato salad

I bought the cheese for this 5 days before making it. Everytime I daughter would open the fridge she would bitterly complain about the smell that it waqs making. I am a huge fan of stinky cheese, but this one was getting out of control. I've never made a souffle before. I've also never--that I can recall--tasted french muenster. Panko is a first as well. I've gotta figure out a way to use the rest of it. These came from epicurious. The souffle I did without adjustments. The salad I changed.

1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup 1/3-inch cubes rindless French Muenster cheese (about 4 ounces)

1. Bring milk just to simmer in small saucepan; remove from heat. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook roux 2 minutes, whisking constantly (do not brown). Gradually whisk in warm milk. Cook until sauce is smooth and thick enough to drop from whisk in thin ribbon, whisking constantly, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cumin and season generously with salt and pepper; transfer to medium bowl. Cool 10 minutes. (Soufflé base can be made ahead. Press plastic wrap onto surface. Let stand 2 hours or chill 1 day. Bring to room temperature before using.)
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 4- to 5-cup soufflé dish; coat inside with panko. Whisk egg yolks into soufflé base 1 at a time; stir in cheese cubes. Beat egg whites and pinch of salt in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry.
3. Fold egg whites into soufflé base in 3 additions; transfer to prepared dish.
4. Bake soufflé until puffed, brown on top, and firm but jiggly to touch, about 28 minutes. Spoon soufflé onto 4 plates. Arrange salad alongside and serve.

Test-kitchen tip: To cube soft Muenster cheese, pare off the rind, then cut cheese into 1/3-inch slices. Freeze slices 15 minutes to firm, then cut into small cubes. Separate cubes on plate and chill. *Available at some supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Makes 4 servings.

24 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup 1/4-inch cubes red bell pepper
1/3 cup 1/4-inch cubes drained roasted red pepper from jar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. blasamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Season salad with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally.)

It was okay. I told my daughter they were called Shy Eggs and not to scare them by yelling or jumping around them while they cooked. This was a good ploy, but when it came time to eat them she just cooed at them. I'm not a fan of french muenster. If I make a souffle again it will be with cheddar.

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