SIM­PLE SOUFFLÉ FOR DIN­NER

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - SARA MOUL­TON

One time many years ago, I was rif­fling through my grand­mother Ruth’s box of hand­writ­ten recipe cards when I pulled up short at the sight of the ti­tle of this recipe for Cheese Sand­wich Soufflé. Soufflé? Fancy! But read­ing the de­tails, I quickly un­der­stood that this item was noth­ing more or less than the wed­ding of a ham-and-cheese sand­wich and some French toast.

But that didn’t make it a soufflé. It re­quired no sep­a­rat­ing of eggs, nor any beat­ing of egg whites. Once I ac­tu­ally made the recipe, how­ever, the ti­tle didn’t seem like such a stretch. Fresh out of the oven, these sand­wiches have puffed up in a very soufflé-ish way. Sim­i­larly, they boast the moist­ness and airi­ness of a soufflé.

But what I es­pe­cially loved was how ridicu­lously easy it is to pre­pare, mak­ing it the ideal can­di­date for a week­night meal. (Huh? A sand­wich for sup­per? Yes. Eggs for sup­per? In­deed.) Prepar­ing this dish is so sim­ple, you ought to con­sider invit­ing your kids to help. But whether or not the kids lend a hand, this sand­wich will be even more at­trac­tive once the hec­tic school year kicks in. Just know that you’ll have to plan ahead a bit; the sand­wiches need to soak in the egg/milk mix­ture for a full hour be­fore you pop them into the oven.

This recipe can be cus­tom­ized in all sorts of ways. You can swap out the ham for smoked turkey, prosci­utto or your meat of choice. You can lose the Gruyère in favour of pro­volone, ched­dar, moz­zarella, or your favourite cheese. Veg­e­tar­i­ans in the fam­ily? Say good­bye to the meat and hello to a hearty veg­etable like grilled egg­plant or sautéed Por­to­bello mush­rooms. Want to make a slim­mer ver­sion? Use low-fat cheese and non-fat milk.

All you’ll need to flesh out the meal is a side salad or veg­etable. These sand­wiches are hearty.

CHEESE SAND­WICH SOUFFLÉ START TO FIN­ISH: 2 HOURS (15 MIN­UTES AC­TIVE) SERV­INGS: 4

But­ter for but­ter­ing the bak­ing pan 8 slices home­made-style white or whole-wheat bread, crusts re­moved ¼ pound thinly sliced cheese (Gruyère, ched­dar, pro­volone, moz­zarella, etc.) 2 ounces thinly sliced boiled ham, prosci­utto or smoked turkey 3 large eggs ¼ tea­spoon ta­ble salt 2 cups whole milk

In a lightly but­tered 8-inch-square bak­ing dish, ar­range 4 slices of the bread flat on the bot­tom, trim­ming the slices if nec­es­sary to fit snug­gly in one layer. Cover each slice with one-fourth of the cheese and one-fourth of the meat, and top each one with an­other slice of bread to form a sand­wich.

In a bowl beat the eggs lightly with the salt, add the milk and beat un­til com­bined well. Pour the mix­ture over the sand­wiches, cover and chill 1 hour.

Pre­heat the oven to 350 F. Bake the sand­wiches on the mid­dle shelf of the oven un­cov­ered un­til they are browned around the edges and just set in the cen­tre, about 40 to 45 min­utes. Trans­fer a baked sand­wich to each of 4 plates and serve right away.

Nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion: 454 calo­ries; 205 calo­ries from fat; 23 g fat (11 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 223 mg choles­terol; 1,113 mg sodium; 36 g car­bo­hy­drates; 2 g fi­bre; 9 g sugar; 26 g pro­tein.

SARA MOUL­TON, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Though not tech­ni­cally a soufflé, fresh out of the oven, these sand­wiches puff up in a very soufflé-ish way.

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