This is a soufflé with the fleeting flavor of springtime green garlic. The simplicity of the ingredients belies its perfection. A soufflé, good bread, and a bottle of wine. Celebrate the season.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 6 green garlic bulbs, trimmed with most of the greens attached
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, well chopped, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cup whole milk
- 6 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon chives, minced
- 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 6 egg whites
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- salt and white pepper to taste
Butter the bottoms and sides 8 (6 oz) ramekins. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese onto the buttered surfaces, tapping to remove the excess. Move the ramekins to the refrigerator until ready to use.
Thinly slice the trimmed green garlic. Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium-sized sautÃ© pan set over medium heat, adding the green garlic before the oil gets too hot. Season with salt and white pepper. Cook until the green parts begin to soften, but retain their green color, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine, and cook, stirring often until the pan is nearly dry. Scrape the green garlic into a small bowl and set aside.
Using the same pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the clean, chopped leeks and cook, stirring often, until they caramelize some, about 15 minutes. Slowly sift the flour into the leeks using a sieve or sifter, stirring the whole time. Let it cook 1 or 2 minutes, continuing to stir until that raw flour taste goes away. Season with salt and white pepper.
Whisk the milk into the mixture slowly. Once the mixture thickens and begins to form large bubble on the edges of the pan add the goat cheese, whisking to incorporate. Stir in the reserved green garlic mixture along with the chives. Remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool about 10 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time; whisking as you work to avoid scrambling or separating the eggs from the base. Cover the pan and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until medium-firm peaks are achieved. Do not take them to stiff and glossy. You may alternatively use an electric mixer, but beating eggs by hand is one of life’s true joys. Gently fold the whites into the green garlic, leek, yolk base, working in ⅓ increments. Do not thoroughly mix the ingredients. Streaky and fluffy is your goal.
Remove the ramekins from the refrigerator and fill them to heaping with the soufflÃ© mixture. Level them for an elegant presentation or leave it mounded for a more rustic look. Cook the soufflÃ© in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden. If you prefer a firmer texture a minute or two more is required.
Remove the soufflÃ© from the oven and serve immediately. Hear that applause? It’s for you!