NO-FUSS CORN SOUFFLÉ
Even when they are not billed as such, the “food-fast” recipes of Jacques Pépin are sure bets for a no-fuss meal.
Here, he uses a minimum of ingredients to create an informal kind of soufflé — no sauce base to cook and no beaten egg whites to fold in. A blender does the work. Just a little bit of poblano takes the corn and Gruyère cheese to different realm. The individual soufflés will puff up in the oven and deflate a bit once served, but stay fairly firm.
What I like most about this recipe, though, is the way you can customize the individual portion sizes.
Just pour from the blender jar into individual ramekins that match the appetites at your table. (The ones you see pictured range from ½- to 1-cup capacity.)
The smaller ones may get a bit more browned and finish a few minutes sooner, so pull them out of the oven as needed. Serve them in their dishes or turn them out onto a salad.
“That’s it!” as the master chef likes to say.
Easy ways to add heft to the soufflé include an after-oven topping of fresh crabmeat, smoked mussels or steamed shrimp, or matchsticks of dressed jicama.
Serve with sautéed, minted snap peas or a colourful tomato salad.
Adapted from Jacques Pepin’s “Heart and Soul in the Kitchen” (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015).
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 large ears fresh corn ¼ poblano chili pepper 2 ounces Gruyère cheese 3 large eggs ½ cup half-and-half ½ teaspoon kosher salt ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper 10 stems fresh chives
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use the butter to grease the ramekins. Place them on a baking sheet.
Discard the husks and all silk of the corn. Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs; reserve the cobs for making broth, if desired. You should have 2½ to 3 cups of kernels, which you can transfer to a blender as you work.
Seed the poblano, then cut into small chunks and add to the blender. Cut the cheese into small chunks and add to the blender. Add the eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper. Purée for about a minute, or until smooth.
Meanwhile, mince the chives. Add three-quarters of them to the soufflé mixture and pulse just enough to incorporate.
Divide the soufflé mixture among the soufflé dishes. Scatter the remaining chives on top of each portion. Bake (middle rack, on the baking sheet) for 25 minutes, until puffed, golden brown on top and more set than jiggly.
Serve right away, in the soufflé dishes.
Per serving: 260 calories, 13 grams protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 180 milligrams cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fibre, 4 g sugar
The individual soufflés will puff up in the oven and deflate a bit once served, but stay fairly firm.