Sunday, February 19, 2006

How to make a homespun soufflé

The consummate home economist, Madame St. Ange tells us how to make a potato soufflé for the family dinner table. I 'update' and divide the recipe by 3, mess it up and even then it tastes divine. It is a ramekin of breakfast goodness.

Breakfast Potato Soufflé

1 egg
twice its volume in old potatoes
2 teaspoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon spice mix maison
2 teaspoons cream cheese or creme fraiche
a pinch cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to about 375F/175C. Separate your egg, putting the white in a medium sized mixing bowl and the yolk on a saucer. Set aside. Pierce the potatoes with a fork and nuke them until soft. Working while they're hot, remove the skin and mash with a fork in a saucepan. Over low heat to evaporate moisture, add the butter with a wooden spoon, vigorously working the potatoes and butter until their form a thick homogenous paste. Add the cream cheese one spoon at a time. Off heat, add the egg yolk and the seasonings, and fully incorporate them. Beat the egg white with the cream of tartar until it forms stiff peaks. Take 1/3 of the beaten egg white and incorporate it gently into the potato mixture. In turn, add the potato mixture to the bowl containing the remaining egg whites, and carefully fold it together. Transfer this to a ramekin, and smooth the top with a knife. Place in a medium oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is brown. It will puff up. Not really like a soufflé, but enough to be considered elegant and of a delectable nutritious consistency. Make note to double or triple this recipe the next time. Always eat your potato soufflé immediately, while hot and steamy. One more example of a dish where the result is an elegant 'much more than the sum of its parts'.

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