Cheese and watercress soufflé

    55 min

    Soufflés have a quite undeserved reputation for being difficult to make. This tasty soufflé is, in fact, very quick and easy to prepare and makes a satisfying lunch when served with crusty bread and a side salad.

    2 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 tsp butter
    • 15 g (½ oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
    • 15 g (½ oz) fine dry breadcrumbs
    • 85 g (3 oz) watercress
    • 3 tbsp cornflour
    • 300 ml (10 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
    • 85 g (3 oz) Gruyère cheese, grated
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Ready in:55min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Lightly butter the inside of a 1.5 litre (2¾ pint) soufflé dish. Mix together the Parmesan and breadcrumbs, and sprinkle half of this mixture over the bottom and sides of the dish, turning and tilting the dish to coat evenly. Set aside.
    2. Remove the thicker stalks from the watercress and discard. Finely chop the rest of the watercress and set aside.
    3. Mix the cornflour with a little of the milk to make a smooth paste. Heat the rest of the milk until almost boiling, then pour onto the cornflour mixture, stirring constantly. Return to the pan and stir over a moderate heat until the sauce thickens and is smooth.
    4. Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks, beating them thoroughly into the sauce. Stir in the chopped watercress, mustard, Gruyère cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
    5. In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until they will hold soft peaks. Fold one-quarter of the whites into the sauce mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the rest of the whites.
    6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan and breadcrumb mixture. Bake the soufflé for 30–35 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Serve immediately.

    Parmesan cheese

    Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.

    Each serving provides

    A, B12, niacin, calcium, E, niacin, zinc, B2, C, folate, copper, iron, selenium

    Some more ideas

    *Instead of Gruyère, use a blue cheese such as Gorgonzola, Stilton or Danish blue.
    *Try a Greek-style feta and watercress soufflé, replacing the Gruyère cheese with 75 g (2½ oz) crumbled feta. Sprinkle the soufflé with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg before serving.
    *For a smoked haddock and spinach soufflé, use 85 g (3 oz) smoked haddock fillet and 85 g (3 oz) fresh spinach leaves. Cook the haddock gently in the milk for 5–6 minutes, then drain, reserving the milk for the sauce. Flake the haddock, discarding any skin and bones. Wash the spinach, then cook for 2–3 minutes, with just the water clinging to the leaves, until wilted. Drain well, squeezing out excess moisture, then chop the spinach. Add the haddock and spinach to the sauce in step 4, in place of the Gruyère and watercress.

    Plus points

    *Gruyère cheese has a distinctive flavour and creamy, melting texture. It contributes to the protein and calcium content of this soufflé, as well as providing zinc, a mineral that has an important role to play in wound healing.
    *Most soufflés are based on a mixture of butter and flour called a roux. This version uses cornflour instead, which works just as well and keeps the total fat content low.

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