Cauliflower Souffle

Cauliflower proves to be polarizing. My husband does not like it, mostly due to its thio, sulfury, stinky compounds. I like it. Maybe if I made it baked with eggs, cheese, and other aromatic ingredients, he would like it better. I remembered my food-writer inspiration and friend had a recipe for souffleed cauliflower I wanted to try. Colman Andrews has a simple, beautiful recipe in his Country Cooking of Ireland. (This cookbook is so great, it won best cookbook of the year by the James Beard Foundation, beating out Thomas Keller last year.) This souffle turned out lovely: lightly, fluffy, tender cauliflower, slightly cheesy. It really highlights the cauliflower instead of covering it up. Nope, I could not get my husband to try it. More for me!

Cauliflower Souffle (Adapted from The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to taste
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 1/2 cups milk (hot)
1 large cauliflower, trimmed and divided into florets
2 large eggs, room temp, separated
1/2 cup (60 grams) grated Irish cheddar chesse

Put the cauliflower into a large bowl of cold salted water for 30 minutes. Drain out water. Cover and microwave for about 2 - 3 minutes until tender. Otherwise, boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes. Microwaving will retain the nutritional content of the cauliflower. Allow to cool.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add in the butter and arrowroot. Whisk frequently until lightly bubbling. Add in a pinch of salt, white pepper, and nutmeg plus the mustard powder. Turn off heat. Slowly pour in the hot milk while whisking all at once. Turn heat back on to low/medium and continue to whisk until smooth and almost boiling. Taste for seasoning and add more per your taste. The bechamel (white sauce) should be thickened at this point. If not, continue to heat until slightly thick. Remove from heat. Add in the grated cheese with whisking until smooth. Add the egg yolk one at a time, whiking theim in until well combined.

Whip the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the souffle mixture in 1/3 increments.

Place the drained cauliflower florets into the bottom of the souffle pan(s) evenly. Spoon the souffle mixture over the cauliflower. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the souffle has risen and just stars to brown. Serves 4-6.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest, highlighting the produce that is in season. Check out The FN Dish. The seasonal produce we are focusing on the chouxfleurs cauliflower! Come over to Twitter where we are discussing it on #cookingwith and #fallfest. Here are other delicious features on cauliflower:

Big Girls Small Kitchen: Cauliflower Soup With Sharp Cheddar and Thyme
Dishin & Dishes: Cauliflower Gratin