Smoked Salmon Asparagus Chive Soufflé
Crisp spring asparagus, bright chives and creamy smoked salmon are the perfect, delicate flavor combination for an airy soufflé – just right for brunch. Serve with baby arugula dressed in a Champagne vinaigrette for an easy, weeknight, spring dinner. The soufflé will fall in just a minute or two once it comes out of the oven. Warn your guests ahead of time so they are seated at the table and can witness your creation in all of its glory!
- 1/4 lb asparagus
- 3 tbs unsalted butter, plus additional to butter soufflé dish
- 3 tbs finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tbs all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 1 cup whole milk
- White pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- 4 large egg yolks
- 5 large egg whites
- 3 oz smoked salmon, finely chopped
- 2 tbs chopped chives
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Adjust the rack so the top of the soufflé dish will be about 8” from the heating element.
- Place asparagus in a 12” skillet with 1” water. Place over high heat and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from pan. The asparagus will still be crisp. When cool, chop into thin rounds. Reserve.
- Butter the inside of a 2 quart soufflé dish. Add grated parmesan and turn dish to coat, reserving extra cheese.
- Make the Béchamel sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir together for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to brown the roux. You are cooking the raw flavor out of the flour. When ready, it will smell pleasantly sharp.
- Remove from heat and add the milk all at once, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps.
Return the sauce to medium-low heat and cook for 3-5 minutes until it thickens. The sauce will be very thick. Season to taste with salt, white pepper and a pinch each of cayenne pepper and nutmeg.
- Stir the egg yolks into the sauce one at a time.
- Whisk the egg whites in a freshly cleaned bowl, or a copper bowl if you have one, until they support their own weight on the whisk.
- In a large bowl, stir together the Béchamel sauce with the salmon, chives and reserved, chopped asparagus. Stir in 1/4 of the stiff egg whites. This lightens the mixture so you lose less volume folding in the remaining egg whites.
- Gently fold in the remaining three quarters of the egg whites until only a few white streaks remain. Transfer the mixture to the prepared soufflé dish, smooth out the top with an offset spatula (or the rubber one that’s already dirty from folding) and sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Place in the oven, reduce heat to 375 degrees, and bake for 25 minutes. The soufflé is done when the top is golden brown and moves slightly in the middle when shaken. I prefer mine still wet in the center. Serve immediately.