Recently, I received a piece of Grafton Clothbound Cheddar as a gift. If you love Cheddar you’ve got to try this cheese. The cheese makers at Grafton use hormone-free raw milk purchased from small Vermont family farms. The handmade Cheddar is then aged in special caves from one to four years. The texture is slightly crumbly and has a distinct earthy taste. A special cheese calls for a special recipe. These soufflés can be a first course or a light lunch. You can make these up to a day in advance and then just reheat to serve. They puff up beautifully on the second baking, which only takes a few minutes. If you have never attempted a soufflé because it sounds complicated, this recipe eliminates the timing issue.
4 oz sharp Cheddar, grated
2 eggs, separated
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
⅔ cup milk
½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
Good sized handful mixed baby greens
1 Cortland apple, cored, sliced into fine match-like sticks
2 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
Preheat oven to 375°
Butter four ¾ cup ramekins and place on a baking sheet.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the flour, and stir to combine. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. The mixture should be quite thick and smooth. Remove from the heat.
Add the yolks, mustard, cheese and salt. Whisk together until smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt to stiff peaks.
Use a rubber spatula to fold ⅓ of the whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it.
Fold in the remaining whites.
Divide the mixture equally among the buttered ramekins and place them in a baking dish. Pour boiling water into the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and place the soufflés on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes.
When cool, run a thin knife around edges of soufflés.
Invert each soufflé onto palm of your hand and carefully turn it right side up onto the baking sheet. They can be made up to this point, and refrigerated until ready to serve. This can be done a day before serving.
Combine maple syrup and cider vinegar in a small bowl and reserve. Cut the apple into matchlike sticks. Cortland apples are great for salads and garnishes since they will not turn brown when the cut surfaces are exposed to air.
Preheat oven to 425°
Butter a baking sheet, and place the soufflés right-side up on the sheet. If you refrigerated them, bring to room temperature before baking.
Bake them in a preheated oven until puffed and heated through, 5 to 7 minutes. Toss the mixed greens and apples, with the dressing, and arrange around the perimeter of 4 salad plates. Use a metal spatula to place a soufflé in center of each plate. Sprinkle with chopped fresh chives.