Courgette souffle

July 31, 2006

Courgette souffle

I vividly remember the first recipe I ever followed. I was about 14, it was around 10 o’clock one school night, and I fancied an early midnight snack. The recipe was printed on the back of a Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce bottle. For some reason I felt compelled to follow it. Grilled cheese, apple and worcester sauce on toast. I carefully measured the cheese and apple to the nearest gram, and diligently counted the drops of sauce into a teaspoon. I can still taste the results. In my mind’s eye, nothing has ever tasted better. Revelation on a Lea & Perrins label.

The second gastro-epiphany came 4 or 5 years later, when I bought Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cookery. A book to read as much as to cook from – to read slowly, over and over. I loved the dated black-and-white line drawings of joints, bunches of vegetables, esoteric kitchen equipment. I loved the impossible list of ingredients needed to make a Pot-au-feu or authentic Bouillabaisse.

This recipe for courgette souffle is taken from this book. I’ve been wanting to try it for over 10 years. What’s stopped me? A primal fear of eggy collapse? More likely because I’ve only just got round to buying souffle dishes. Picked them up in the Harrods sale, dahhhling.

Courgette souffle

Beating egg white

For 2 people you’ll need 2 egg yolks and 4 egg whites, 3 or 4 courgettes, and a couple of large ramekins or individual souffle dishes.

Before you start, heat the oven to about 160 degrees C. Put in a deep tray with an inch or so of water in it. Butter the ramekins.

1. Chop the courgettes into chunky slices. Salt and drain them, if you like. Put in a frying pan with a tablespoon or so of water and cook over a low heat, slowly, until soft. The idea is to cook out the moisture in the ‘gettes. Then sieve them to create a puree – or use a mouli-legume if you’ve got one. Drain off excess moisture.

2. Make a very thick bechamel sauce, using about a quarter of a pint of milk, an ounce of butter and two tablespoons of flour. Add the pureed courgette mix, 2 egg yolks and about 5 tablespoons of grated parmesan. Mix together and season well.

3. Whisk the egg whites, enthusiastically, until stiff and peaky. Gingerly fold the egg whites in to the courgette mixture with a metal spoon.

4. Divide the mixture between the two large ramekins, place them in the tray of water and cook for about 15-25 minutes depending on the size of the dishes. It’s better to under-do them so you get a creamy, gooey centre.

Stomach and soul, satisfied. Fear of the souffle, conquered.

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11 Responses to “Courgette souffle”

  1. Bonnie Says:

    Being new to the country, I’ve only just discovered Elizabeth David, but I already have French Provicial Cookery. With a few too many corgettes in the fridge, I think I’m going to join you in conquering the souffle, which I’ve never attempted before. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  2. margesimpson Says:

    oooh looks lovely ,sorely tempted to try this one , no dishes though ,have to get some and let u know how it went. never had souffle before and who this liz david woman oh i m such a country bumkin! lol

  3. Cloggie Says:

    Courgette Souffle? That’s got to be up with your Lettuce Risotto recipe in my book. Perhaps you should get out more… Talking of which, I found a right little gem of a guest house in a lovely part of Herefordshire this weekend and have been very excited to tell you about it. Wondered if you would put a link on this blog? Cheeky I know.

    Aspen House (www.aspenhouse.net) is run by a great couple – Rob and Sally – who are totally dedicated to good, real food. They take extraordinary care in sourcing the best local ingredients and everything is cooked with a passion and absolutely delicious. Check out the big breakfast menu on the site, that is just for starters!

    Aside from the food, its a really nice place to stay, good value, beautiful countryside and totally chilled. We’re definately going back!

    Really gastropunk, perhaps when it comes to thinking up what weird and wonderful things to do with all this veg, perhaps it is time to skip an order and take Maths Chick away for the weekend!

  4. gastropunk Says:

    Funny you should mention that, Cloggie. We are slinging our hook and heading out to Devon for the weekend. It’s a working holiday in a way – we’re visting Riverford farm to see where all this good stuff is grown. Maybe some other weekend we’ll have a completely veg box-free break to Herefordshire – you’re right, Maths chick deserves a break from all these veggie shenanigans…

    I checked out the Aspen House website and it looks like they’re serious ‘real’ foodies. They’ve been added to the links. Now, be honest, are you getting a free weekend in the penthouse for this plug?

  5. Cloggie Says:

    Honestly, no (or at least not that I know of!). Just wanted to share it so other passionate foodies can enjoy it too. But now you mention it, might try and blag an extra portion of something lovely when we’re next there…..

    Enjoy Devon – I’ll be looking forward to your post on your visit to Riverford!

  6. Woodend Mum Says:

    Do you think the courgette souffle would be good with the cannon ball yellow courgettes? I managed to disguise one chopped small in a ‘finish up last week’s veg box’ lasagne yesterday.
    Today we’re jam making, damson, the tree outside the front door is as tall as the house – not sure how to get them all down….

  7. gastropunk Says:

    Woodend Mum, I think it would be worth trying this recipe with the bowling ball courgettes. The key seems to be cooking out as much of the watery courgette liquid as possible before adding to the bechamel.

    How did you manage to get the damsons down? I guess in the old days they’d send sooty Victorian urchins scampering up the trees to fetch the fruit. We made apple chutney from the tree in our garden the other week – can there be a finer way to pass a summer afternoon?

  8. Rutabaga Says:

    Not veggie, but I managed to get my courgette-hating husband to admit he enjoyed these… Meatballs from Smyrna (based on recipe from very battered old copy of Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern Cooking, hence imperial weights). Mix 1lb courgettes, steamed for 5 mins,then chopped finely, with 2 onions, finely chopped and softened in oil, 1lb minced lamb, 1 large beaten egg, pepper and 2oz grated parmesan. No salt because of the parmesan. Fry walnut-sized balls in olive oil gently – if you have the heat too high, the meatballs disintegrate. Very good hot, but also a comfortable snack to have waiting in the fridge.

  9. gastropunk Says:

    Rutabaga, this recipe sounds great. i’m going to give it a go. also, it’s inspired me to seek out my battered old copy of Middle Eastern Cooking to see what other veg-based gems are lurking in there.


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