Since I am not an expert "soufflé-maker", I searched the name to see what I could find about this international dish.
Origin: 1805–15; < French, noun use of past participle of souffler to blow, puff < Latin sufflāre to breathe on, blow on.
Say no more, say no more! My mentor’s voice just popped into my brain and her book landed on my kitchen counter just like magic! Yes, the one and only The Way To Cook, Julia Child's masterpiece. In it, she explains to me: "A reasonably well-assembled soufflé can be an automatic happenstance: a flavor base into which stiffly beaten egg whites are incorporated. When the mixture is baked, the heat of the oven expands the air bubbles in the egg whites and the whole mass rises. It stays puffed the few minutes needed to serve it; then, as it cools, the air bubbles deflate and the soufflé collapses. Soufflés are not difficult when you have mastered the beating of egg whites and the folding of them into the soufflé base."
Thanks to Julia, I won’t require therapy when I serve a collapsed soufflé for dinner. Now, I know that it is intended to go down, as it cools.
Asparagus Soufflé Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour (self-rising)
1/2 teaspoon fine table salt and ½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 eggs, separated
Cut the asparagus stalks in half, use only the half closest to the tip ends.
Cook asparagus for 2 minutes in boiling water with a pinch of salt. Drain, and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Let them cool off. Blend butter and flour in a skillet; cook slowly being careful not to burn it. Add milk gradually and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pepper. Let it cool for a few minutes.
In a blender, add the thick sauce (béchamel) and asparagus and blend.
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk the egg whites till firm but soft.
Stir in the egg yolks and cheese until well combined.
With a whisk or a rubber spatula, fold in one half of the beaten egg whites into the asparagus mixture, mix well, and add the rest of the egg whites. Fold in carefully to keep from deflating the egg whites.
Pour in prepared ramekins and bake for 20 minutes at 350. Serve immediately.