Easy elegance on a budget
How do you serve a salmon entree to four people for under $5 total? You make salmon soufflé.
Soufflé makes tastefully classy lunch, dinner or late night supper. Fluffy, moist eggs rising heavenward past the rim of the baking dish, blended with salmon and a touch of dill. This is cheap eats at its finest. The closest eggs can get to being Queen for a Day.
Soufflés have a reputation for being difficult and temperamental, not unlike the reputation of a Diva. Let me assure you, neither reputations are necessarily true.
The term “Diva” originally described a woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera. A person of talent, knowledge, culture and grace. A Divo would be the male counterpart. Not a rude, condescending person as the word has come to mean. When I chose the name Divas On A Dime for my writing, I wanted to demonstrate how the ordinary can be elevated to become extraordinary using creativity and not cash.
As for the volatile reputation of the soufflé, again it’s undeserved. If you follow the instructions, it will work every time. A basic soufflé is a white sauce, or béchamel, mixed with egg yolks and cheese, into which whipped egg whites are folded. If you can whip egg whites and make a white sauce, you can totally make soufflé.
Diva tips – Have everything gathered and measured out before you begin preparation. When you beat the egg whites, make sure your bowl and beaters are impeccably clean with no traces of oil or yolk. This will prevent the whites from forming their tiny bubbles and attaining full volume.
EASY SALMON SOUFFLÉ
Yield: 4 servings Time: 1-hour total
What You’ll Need:
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon green onion – thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 (14.75 ounce) can salmon – flaked – bones and dark skin removed
- 4 eggs – separated – at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Butter a baking dish (7 ½ to 8 inches top diameter and 3 inches deep) with one teaspoon butter. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Some favorites – HIC Porcelain Souffle 8-inch, 2-quart
- Place oven racks in the bottom third of the oven, preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat; melt butter. Add the onions and sauté until just softened. Whisk in flour and let cook for 2 minutes.
- Whisk constantly as you add milk, salt, pepper and dill. Switch to a wooden spoon, stir and simmer until very thick. Remove from heat, add the salmon and let cool a minute.
- Add the yolks, one at a time, combine and set aside. This is your base.
- With a stand or hand mixer, beat egg whites, adding cream of tartar when they reach soft peak stage. Whip until they reach stiff peaks.
- Using a spatula, fold one third of your whites into the base to lighten the mixture. Fold the rest of the whites into the base until just combined. A few streaks of whites are okay. Don’t over mix or you’ll deflate your whites.
- Pour into your prepared soufflé dish or baking dish. Place the soufflé in the oven and turn the temperature down to 375°F.
- Bake at 375°F for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. Resist the urge to peek! Don’t open the oven door until at least 35 minutes have passed. To test for doneness, like testing a cake, insert a bamboo skewer or even a piece of dry spaghetti. If it comes out clean it’s done. Serve immediately. The soufflé will begin to deflate in about 3 minutes. That’s okay. Have the camera ready.
- To serve, plunge two serving spoons, back to back, into the center of the soufflé and tear the crust apart. Divide into four servings and plate.
You serve this immediately. Like the performance of a Diva, a soufflé is magical, temporary and transcendent.
For more information on making meringue go here – The Magic and Mayhem of Making Meringue
Suggested sides would be: a green salad with a light creamy vinaigrette, sliced cucumber, steamed or sautéed asparagus, or sautéed leeks. Wine pairings would be Champagne or sparkling wine, chardonnay, a dry rose, chenin blanc or sauvignon blanc.
As you bring this delicate and cloud-like perfection to the table you say; “Oh, this little ole thing? I made this just for you because I’m a DIVA!” *strut*
HIC Porcelain Souffle 8-inch, 2-quart