No culture knows the importance of eggs more than the French. Quiche, croque madame, and hollandaise sauce are just a few of the famous French egg dishes that display the ingredient's vast realm of textural and taste possibilities. An especially elegant French egg recipe is the fluffy and airy soufflé that lies somewhere between an omelet and a popover.
The base ingredients for a soufflé are eggs, flour, butter, and milk. The key difference between soufflés and popovers lies in the preparation. For soufflés, egg yolks and whites are beaten and added separately before baking into a light, puffy, and delicate meal, dessert, or appetizer.
Soufflés can be sweet or savory: A cheesy, rich béchamel makes for a savory soufflé, while incorporating sugar into the egg whites and cocoa or vanilla in the egg yolks leads to sweet soufflés. That said, you can elaborate an egg soufflé with your choice of mix-ins, from vegetables, meat, and cheese, to fresh fruit and nuts.
The best way to incorporate mix-ins with your egg soufflé is by folding them into the yolk mixture along with the egg whites. This method combines two steps into one and ensures that you disperse all ingredients evenly without jeopardizing the soufflé's consistency. Folding lighter ingredients into heavier batters is a well-known method used to aerate them, which helps achieve a light and fluffy mouthfeel.
Tips For Adding Different Mix-Ins To Egg Soufflé
While baking an egg soufflé at high temperatures in the oven is enough to cook some raw mix-ins, you'll need to cook other mix-ins in advance. Lighter ingredients like young leafy greens, scallions, and herbs are fine to add raw. Aromatics, peppers, brassicas, and root vegetables, on the other hand, require cooking. Sauteing garlic, onions, and peppers releases their aromas and caramelizes them. Heartier vegetables like broccoli, carrots, squash, and potatoes require longer cooking times, so throwing them into a soufflé raw will make for undercooked, unpleasant crunches.
Cured meats like cold cuts, charcuterie, and bacon as well as grated or crumbled cheeses are safe to add without pre-cooking. Whether you add cooked or raw ingredients, cutting or crumbling them into similar-sized pieces facilitates their distribution in the soufflé batter.
Preparing your egg whites is crucial for the success of your soufflé. Mixing room-temperature egg whites in a metal bowl with a dash of cream of tartar is the best way to get the fluffiest, stiffest peaks possible, which will translate to the lightest, airiest soufflé. Furthermore, folding the whites and mix-ins in batches will guarantee that the batter remains aerated.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.