Chef Ted’s Corn Souffle

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Serves 4 – recipe courtesy of Ted Helm, CSA Member

· 4 ears corn
· soufflé dish prep
· Butter, room temperature
· 2 tablespoons grated Asiago
· soufflé base
· 3 tablespoons butter
· 3 tablespoons flour
· ½ teaspoon paprika
· 2 teaspoon fresh chives, minced (or 1t dried)
· ½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
· kosher salt, to taste
· fresh ground black pepper, to taste
· 1 cups milk, hot
· 4 large egg yolks (2 1/2 ounces by weight)
· 6 ounces Asiago cheese
· fluff
· 5 egg whites plus 1 tablespoon water (5 1/2 ounces by weight plus 1/2 ounce water)
· ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Shuck and steam four ears of corn. When they cool, cut off the kernels with a knife. (I hold the corn on a cutting board like a cello, sawing down with a paring knife and rotating.) For extra corn flavor, scrape any leftover “corn milk” out of the kernels into a bowl and reserve.

Use room temperature butter to grease an 8-inch soufflé. Add the grated Asiago and roll around the mold to cover the sides, creating a “climbing wall” for the soufflé to scale. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer until ready to cook.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a small saucepan, cook all the water out of the butter (when it stops bubbling, no water is left), but swirl the pan as necessary so butter solids don’t burn at the bottom of the pan.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, paprika, chives, nutmeg, kosher salt and pepper. Whisk this mixture into the melted butter. Cook for 2 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the hot milk and turn the heat to high. Once the mixture reaches a boil (and thickens considerably), remove from the heat. (For you science types, cool to 140°F or less.)

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks to a creamy consistency. Temper the yolks, one at a time, into the milk sauce, constantly whisking. Whisk in the cheese until incorporated. Add the corn kernels and any corn milk. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg to just below “too salty.” (The flavorless whipped egg whites will mellow out the heavily seasoned base.) This sauce can hold in the fridge for a day.

In a large, clean, non-plastic bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until they reach soft peaks. Stir a quarter of the whipped whites into the base. Continue to add the whites by thirds, folding quickly and gently, as if you were wrapping a wet puppy in a blanket.

Pour the mixture into the soufflé dish. Fill the souffle to 1/2-inch from the top. Place the soufflé on a baking sheet for easy access and spill proofing. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the soufflé is done. Do not open the oven door for the first twenty minutes of cooking; it definitely won’t be ready, and the soufflé may fall.

Serve immediately.

Notes:

For a more professional rise, you can prepare an aluminum-foil “collar” with a butter/cheese “climbing wall” just like you did the soufflé dish, using string to tie it around the dish after you fill it. More climbing wall means a higher soufflé.

The secret ingredient here is the nutmeg, which has a huge teenage crush on both béchamel and corn. If you can afford it, skip the powdered jar stuff and grate from a whole nutmeg nut.