Bring Back the Cheese Soufflé!

The response to the piece I wrote on how to make a better grilled cheese sandwich has been so intense that it’s gotten me thinking about other good uses for Cheddar cheese. I had a sudden, sharp taste memory of the cheese souffles that my mother’s friends used to serve in the fifties, and I simply had to go into the kitchen and make one.

This is from my mother's recipe box (a dubious distinction, I'll admit), and it is exactly as I remember it. It’s not really French - just solid American food, baked in a brownie pan and served with a salad. In the fifties it was considered extremely sophisticated; today I'd just call it extremely satisfying.  

 Cheese Soufflé

 Melt a half stick of butter over low heat and whisk in two tablespoons of flour until it’s turned into a smooth roux. Slowly pour in a cup of scalded milk and and whisk for a couple of minutes until you have something that’s smooth as melted ice cream.  Toss in a dash of salt, a pinch of pepper and a good handful (about a cup) of grated cheddar cheese, stir well and remove from the heat.  

Separate 4 eggs, stirring the yolks into the cheese mixture.  Whip the whites in a clean bowl with clean beaters until stiff.  Stir about a third of the egg whites into the cooled cheese mixture, then fold in the remaining whites.  Pour into a greased 8 by 8 inch square pan, and bake at 350 until it’s puffy and golden (about half an hour). 

Serves 4




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yes, please.

we tend to turn toward cheese souffle to use up the 'bits and bobs' in the cheese drawer. not glamorous, i guess, but pretty fantastic, whether made from crumbly english cheddar, manchego, gruyere, or all of the above.

love the idea of baking this in a brownie pan. seems a fitting uniform for a meal that truly is an everyday sort of feast.

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