With soufflés, it seems that timing is everything. You’ve got to be ready with the rest of the meal an instant BEFORE the soufflés come out of the oven. They don’t scare me, but I’ll admit that it all seems a little fussy to me. Going into this challenge, I wasn’t 100% convinced about the magic of a soufflé, but I was open-minded.
This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays is for cheese, bacon, and arugula soufflés. We thrive on leftovers here, so the fact that leftover soufflé is just not a thing means that I needed to make only enough for one meal. I opted to halve the recipe and hope that eating two soufflés each wasn’t too much. Plus I needed to find an evening when I had time to make the recipe. In fact, I didn’t get around to it until tonight even though I was running around all day getting ready for the garden club’s big plant sale tomorrow.
Making soufflé isn’t that hard, but there are a lot of steps. Cooking the bacon, wilting the greens, grating the cheeses, making the roux, separating eggs, and so on. I worked my way through it methodically, and things came together without a hitch. The twice-baked twist on this recipe was interesting but added to my feeling that the recipe was fussy.
We ate two personalized soufflés each with a big green salad for a satisfying meal. The flavors were nice, but we both felt that it was too much like a quiche without its advantages (like more flexible timing on serving and leftovers). My takeaway from this recipe is a new inspiration for a quiche or frittata filling.
So I’m still not convinced that a soufflé is worth the effort.
Eggs symbolize birth, rebirth, fresh starts, spring, so it’s fitting that this week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays, the Extra Edition for the fifth Friday in March, is eggy: Hard-cooked eggs with herb mayonnaise, which is better described as a simple salad topped with hard-boiled eggs.
I’ve spent a long time figuring out the best way to cook hard-boiled eggs. As simple as it seems, there are many different methods out there. While David adds eggs to boiling water and simmers them, I find the cooking time varies widely depending on the temperature of the eggs. Are they cold, coming straight from the refrigerator? Are they room temperature? How long have they been sitting out? I find the most reliable method for me is to place eggs in a pot, cover them with water, and start heating. When the water comes to a boil, cover the pot, remove it from the heat, and let the eggs cook in the residual heat (14-15 minutes for large eggs). That’s how I cooked my eggs.
The component of this recipe that makes it special is the mayonnaise. Some people are intimidated by making their own mayonnaise. I usually use it from the jar, but for special occasions, it’s simple to make in the food processor. David’s recipe was just the right balance. And then, to gild the lily, minced shallots and herbs are added for maximum deliciousness. I couldn’t find chervil but used tarragon. Making the mayo the day before allows the flavors to mellow.
Everything comes together as a salad. A bed of lettuce topped with halved grape tomatoes and hard-cooked eggs are dolloped with the mayonnaise. I also sprinkled extra minced shallots and tarragon over the top. The salad makes a perfect lunch. I really enjoyed the flavors, but… I really prefer a salad that’s tossed with dressing for an even coating. When dolloped, or when dressing is served on the side, it’s not ideal for me. So… I would make this again, but I would toss the lettuce with the mayonnaise first, then top with the tomatoes and eggs.
I made extra hard-boiled eggs, and I’ll use the leftover mayonnaise to make some deviled eggs this weekend.
Happy Passover or Happy Easter to whoever is celebrating! Spring is here!