Thursday, October 4, 2007

Souffle Tuesday -- two days late

When it comes to matters culinary I'm pathetically suggestible. Let one of my food gurus mention an unusual spice or helpful gadget or pricey pan and I immediately NEED it. Occasionally I don't have to go shopping: the must-have is an already-have, a purchase made weeks, months or years ago that has been sitting, unused, on my pantry shelf or at the back of a cabinet drawer.
This copper tarte tatin pan was a birthday present -- one of those oh-how-did-you-know-I-wanted-this? gifts. (Perhaps the Williams-Sonoma catalog left open with the item number circled in red helped.) I was thrilled and immediately hung it, in all its French gorgeousness, on my pot rack and then never took it down except for polishing. Any time I'd think about making a tarte tatin, I'd think again and make a far-easier galette instead.
Then I saw the clafouti photo in "Nigella Express" -- with my pan's exact twin -- and read: "I use (my tarte tatin pan) for so many recipes, including roasting small birds, I can't recommend one too highly." Down came the pan that very afternoon and I've been roasting poussins and baking savory souffles in it ever since. I've always preferred a fairly shallow container for savory souffles, as Resident Gardener likes lots of brown top crust.
And *I* like imagining that Nigella will stroll into my kitchen one day and be filled with admiration for my choice of copperware.

Crab and Almond Souffle
(adapted a bit from "Gourmet's Menu Cookbook")

Fresh chives
1 cup bechamel sauce, warmed
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and pepper
2 cups flaked crab meat
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon shredded almonds, divided
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten.
6 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees and butter the souffle dish well.
Season the bechamel with the dry mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in the crab, the 1/4 cup almonds and the egg yolks. Beat the egg whites with a dash of salt until firm but still moist peaks form. Stir about a quarter of the beaten egg whites into the crab mixture and then gently but thoroughly fold in the rest. Pour the batter into the buttered souffle dish, scatter the remaining tablespoon of almonds on top, place in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 375-degress. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The souffle will be puffed (but not as high as a sweet souffle) and deep brown in color.
While the souffle is baking, clarify some butter and then add some snipped chives. Serve this as a light sauce. Of course, if you felt like making hollandaise...


lmc said...

this looks PERFECT. i can't wait for crab season. i am definitely going to make this.

rowena said...

A savory souffle! Again, I am that much closer to attempting a souffle but now... Your copper tarte tatin pan is simply enviable and wonder if that should be an item casually written down somewhere on a piece of paper. Xmas is coming up....