Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Salt Lick Green Onion and Cheese Souffle

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My last post was on the eve of my second daughter's birth: seven months and twelve days ago. It's amazing how much can change in so little time. Hurricane Sandy left her mark when little one was just seven weeks old. There was Newtown and more recently the Boston bombings... I was on maternity leave for nearly four months and have now been back at work for nearly four.

And it is work that led me to this post.

More specifically, it is work that led me to the Salt Lick.

Since returning to work, I've had three business trips - two to Texas and one to Michigan. The Michigan trip was a snowy disaster and one trip to Texas found me locked in my hotel room with a stomach bug. (The saving grace was a nice dinner when I recovered out with my two favorite people from work.) But the other trip to Texas was for a team meeting and I have a great team. These are people I would actually choose to hang out with if work hadn't thrown us together by chance. Needless to say, it made for some fun nights.

On one of those nights, the boss, a true Texas carnivore (not sure green is in his vocabulary), chose to take the team for some finger-licking good BBQ at the Salt Lick. I had heard of the Salt Lick during a recent season of Top Chef, so my little eyes lit up when he mentioned it. I had decided to buy the cookbook before we even arrived (my teammates laughed at my eagerness, but then several of the guys decided to tote home a copy for their wives!)

The barbecue was good - really good. Especially the ribs washed down with more than a couple pitchers of Shiner Bock. If I find myself in Austin again, I'm going back for more. In the meantime, I'll content myself with the book.

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Green Onion and Cheese Souffle
from the Salt Lick Cookbook by Scott Roberts and Jessica Dupuy

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, room temperature
½ cup grated Gruyère cheese
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 oz. pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
1 – 2 bunches green onions, cleaned and sliced on the bias into ½” slices
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 egg yolks
salt and pepper to taste
8 egg whites
1 tsp. cream of tartar

Pre-heat the oven to 375º F and butter a 1½ qt. soufflé mold.

Pre-heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the butter and melt until frothy. Add the flour, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, creating a roux.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk, whisking vigorously. Return the pot to the heat and bring this mixture to a boil so that the sauce will thicken. (This is a basic white sauce.)

Again, remove the pan from the heat and add the grated cheeses, stirring well to melt.

In a large skillet, cook the chopped pancetta (if using) over medium heat. When pancetta is fully cooked and a little crispy, add the green onions to the pan and sauté briefly. If you are not including the pancetta, simply sauté the green onions in a tbsp. of butter.

Add the green onions, mustard, and egg yolks to the cheese sauce. Taste this mixture and season with salt and pepper. (Be sure to season well or over-season slightly, since this mixture will be diluted by the egg whites later.) Let this mixture cool completely.

Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar in a copper bowl to soft peak stage. In three stages, carefully fold the egg whites into the soufflé base. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 1½ qt. soufflé mold. Bake at 375º F for 30 minutes, or until risen and lightly browned on top. The soufflé should jiggle only slightly when finished.

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