Serve this simple souffle with a watercress salad. Olive oil is not recommended as a fat substitute; its flavor may clash with this preparation.
Servings: 3 - 4
- 2 tablespoons salted butter (may substitute margarine or rendered bacon fat), plus more for the souffle dish
- 20 to 30 morel mushrooms, washed and chopped (may substitute 8 ounces mixed mushrooms such as cremini, shiitake and oyster)
- 1 tablespoon flour, plus more for the souffle dish
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Pinch salt
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- Freshly ground white or black pepper
- 5 large eggs plus 1 large egg white, at room temperature
Melt the butter in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they cook down and release their juices. Sprinkle the flour over them, stirring to form a roux. Add the heavy cream and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture has thickened. Dust with the nutmeg; you should have at least 1 cup of mushroom sauce. Season well with salt and pepper to taste; remove from the heat to cool while you prepare the eggs.
Preheat the oven to halfway between 325 and 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a medium (2-quart) souffle dish or baking dish, then dust lightly with flour.
Separate the egg yolks and whites, placing them in the separate bowls of a stand mixer (or use large bowls and a hand-held electric mixer). Beat the yolks on low speed until smooth. Add a little of the mushroom sauce to the yolks (to temper them if the sauce is not completely cooled), then stop the motor and add the yolks to the mushroom sauce, stirring to combine.
Use a separate whisk attachment to beat the egg whites on high speed until they form glossy, stiff peaks that are not dry. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
Carefully fold a large spoonful of the beaten egg whites into the mushroom-egg yolk mixture to lighten its texture, then fold the remaining mushroom mixture into the egg whites in several additions, until just incorporated (some streaks of egg white may remain). Transfer to the souffle or baking dish and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned on the top and set in the center. Serve hot.
Adapted from "The Foraging Gourmet," by foraging expert and author Katie Letcher Lyle of Lexington, Va. (Lyons & Burford, 1997).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.