You know, sometimes, I become obsessed with foods because of their famed difficulty to make. First it was the Macaron, then it was Cannelés Bordelais… finally, I worked my way up to the Soufflé. I love desserts, so my first attempts were in the sweet category. I will share my chocolate soufflé recipe one of these days! Recently, I have been working on savory soufflés and I must say that they are much easier to conquer, so start your soufflé journey with something salty. These dishes are really light and delicious. Perfect for brunch or a light dinner. They are one of those perfect foods that fill you up without weighing you down. This recipe is for a smoked salmon and cream cheese soufflé, but you can swap out the ingredients for a different flavor. How about prosciutto and Gruyère, or spinach and Gruyère, or leek and bacon? The options are fairly limitless.
I find it works best with fresh eggs and, ironically, “Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs” from the grocery store to line the mold. If you are not accustomed to whipping egg whites, I recommend whipping by hand. A copper mixing bowl does wonders here. I used one once and have been on an eBay hunt since. However, if you don’t have one just add 1/8 of a teaspoon of cream of tartar or 1/4 teaspoon baking powder after whipping for about a minute to get really nice stable, firm peaks. Fold the egg whites in gently to make sure you don’t deflate your masterpiece.
I served this for our anniversary dinner with a simple bib lettuce and radish salad with a herb and lemon vinaigrette and Cannelés Bordelais for dessert!
Smoked Salmon, Caper, and Cream Cheese Soufflé
5 tbsp butter + 2 tbsp melted or softened for mold
1/4 cup bread crumbs, I use “Italian Seasoned” for the texture
one small shallot, minced finely
5 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch of paprika
pinch of nutmeg
4 oz smoked salmon
8 oz container of full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
tops of 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
6 egg yolks
7 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar or 1/4 tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat the inside of a 2 quart soufflé mold with butter. Carefully dust with bread crumbs. Shake off any extra. Place in fridge while you prepare the filling.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add shallots and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Add flour and whisk continuously to create a roux. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully add in milk and half and half. Turn down heat and whisk continuously for about 5-7 minutes until the consistency thickens to that of a warm pudding.
- Take off the heat and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and nutmeg. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a blender or mixer, combine cream cheese and salmon and blend for at least one minute until smooth, pale pink mixture forms.
- Blend cream cheese mixture into the milk mixture.
- Separate egg yolks and egg whites. I crack the egg and carefully pour the egg yolk from one half of the shell to the other until the white is completely separated into a mixing bowl.
- Add egg yolks to the milk and cheese mixture one egg at a time. Whisk together.
- After all 6 eggs yolks are whisked in, whisk in the capers and the green onions. Set aside.
- Either by hand or with stand mixer, whip egg whites for about 1 minute until soft peaks begin to form. Add in the cream of tartar and beat until firm peaks form. If liquid begins to reappear and the mixture separates, you have gone too far and need to restart with new egg whites. For this reason, if you are new to whipping egg whites, it is easier to do so by hand, even if your wrist will not agree. It is harder to ruin. If using a stand mixer, do not walk away while whipping.
- Switch to a rubber spatula and carefully fold in 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture. Do this slowly and methodically attempting not to lose any of the lightness of the yolks. Mixing a part into the yolk mixture allows you to fold the remainder in much more easily.
- Very very carefully, fold in the remainder of the egg whites until homogenous.
- Pour into prepared mold. Even out the top if it does not look nice. I like to leave some sign of the pouring on the top for a nice effect when the soufflé bakes.
- Place a meat thermometer into one corner angled towards the center.
- Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the interior temperature reads 180 degrees.
- Serve immediately.
Total cooking time: 2 hours