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Asparagus-Goat Cheese Soufflés
Victoria Abbott Riccardi
“Puffy and warm, these asparagus-goat cheese soufflés are the essence of spring. Serve them alongside a big salad with a tangy vinaigrette for a light supper or a special brunch. Though these are wonderful either way, the addition of truffle oil is spectacular and decadent-tasting.”
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed
1½ cups nonfat milk
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon coarse salt, divided
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature (see Tips)
1½ teaspoons truffle oil (optional; see Tips)
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup crumbled or diced aged goat cheese (see Note) or Manchego cheese
1Fill a large skillet with 1 inch of hot water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus. Partially cover and cook the asparagus until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain; refresh under cold water. Blot the asparagus dry with a clean kitchen towel, then cut into ½-inch slices.
2Position rack on lowest level of oven; preheat to 375°F. Coat six 10-ounce ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Place ramekins on a large rimmed baking sheet.
3Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking often, for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and slowly whisk in hot milk. Return the heat to medium-low and continue whisking until the mixture is thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and whisk in 4 egg yolks, one at a time, and truffle oil, if using. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the asparagus and cheese.
4Place 8 egg whites in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer, slowly increasing the speed, until they begin to foam. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and continue to beat until the whites hold their shape; do not overbeat. (You'll know they are ready when you lift the beaters out and the peak doesn't flop over.)
5Using a rubber spatula, gently stir one-third of the whites into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites just until blended. Divide the souffle mixture among the prepared ramekins, filling them almost to the top. (Discard any leftover mixture or prepare another ramekin for another souffle.)
6Bake the souffles on the bottom rack until puffy and golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 145°F, 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overcook—the centers will look soft.
Equipment: six 10-ounce ramekins
Tips: To bring an egg to room temperature, either set it out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge it (in the shell) in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.
Look for truffle oil in small bottles near other oils in well-stocked supermarkets or gourmet food shops.
Ingredient Note: Goat cheese, also know as chèvre (French for “goat”), is earthy-tasting and slightly tart. Aged goat cheese has a nutty, sharp flavor and is drier and firmer than fresh goat cheese. Look for it in a well-stocked cheese section at large supermarkets and specialty cheese shops. We don't recommend using fresh, creamy goat cheese as a substitute—Manchego cheese is a better choice.
Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.