Thursday 25 September 2008

Fennel Goats Cheese Souffle - Foodie Joust October 1

Peter at Souvlaki for the Soul won last month's whole grain/citrus/ginger joust with a really delectable-looking halva recipe. And with a sort of perverse glee he set fennel, parsley and dairy as his 3 challenge ingredients. Fennel and dairy? And parsley? So this one took some thinking about.

Eventually I figured it out. A base of my wonderfully flexible fennel confit, with goats cheese in a souffle. I'm pretty relaxed about souffles since adopting a rule to live by - if it rises it is a souffle, if it doesn't it's a sformato. If it really, really doesn't it's a frittata. See? Nothing to worry about.

Fennel & Goats Cheese Souffle

Fennel Confit
Finely chopped stems of 2 x 25g bunches parsley
1 orange - grated zest and juice
3 anchovy fillets, chopped (I sacrificed my last anchovies for this. Won't be buying more until I can find a sustainable source since they have been identified as vulnerable to overfishing)
¼ cup white wine (dry sherry, vermouth, whatever is open really)
2 fennel bulbs, outer leaves removed, very finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
50ml/2fl oz olive oil
1 tsp sugar

1tbs butter
1tbs plain flour
1/2 cup milk
80g grated pecorino
150g soft goats cheese

To finish
Extra grated pecorino
Extra butter
1 whole egg
2 eggwhites

Put all the fennel confit ingredients in a heavy-based pan and cook gently, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the fennel is soft and all the liquid has evaporated. Allow to cool.

Make a very thick bechamel flavoured with pecorino and goats cheese. I normally go completely nuts on seasoning a bechamel, but this is no time for mustard or nutmeg or lashings of white pepper. Well, maybe some white pepper, but on this occasion I didn't.

Combine the cooled fennel confit with the bechamel and the whole egg in a large mixing bowl.

Beat the eggwhites to firm peaks and fold gently into the fennel mixture. Leaving the odd small streak of unmixed eggwhite is OK.

Grease a souffle dish with some soft butter and dust it with more pecorino. I have heard that making sure your brush-strokes all lead upwards in the souffle dish helps it rise because the mixture "climbs" the strokes. Maybe it does. Can't hurt. Turn the souffle mixture into the dish and bake, undisturbed, at 180C for about 1/2 an hour, or until it is well risen (or not) and golden brown.

Serve with a parsley salad (did you think I was going to just waste the parsley leaves?). Serves 2 greedy people as a main course, 6 as a starter in cute little straight-sided ramekins.


mscrankypants said...

Clever mix of ingredients and you've turned out a gorgeous result. Would Fat Couriers deliver?

Alicia Foodycat said...

The Fat Couriers are terribly unreliable!

Deb in Hawaii said...

Yep--loving this souffle! Great joust entry!

Natalie Que said...

Look how beautifully it puffed up! It's just gorgeous. Great entry.

I swear I'm going to do one one of these days! It was going to be this month, but I was confounded by those 3 ingredients, mostly because I don't love fennel or use it much. But it looks delightful in this!

I hope you win and pick 3 good ones that I can work with for next month, what do you say?!

Peter M said...

A wonderful creation and the top of the souffle is perfect!

Bon chance in the Joust!

Anonymous said...

OMG...that's one preety souffle there, sounds delish too :)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Thanks Deb!

HG - the thought of actually winning one and having to choose the ingredients terrifies me!

Thanks Peter! That was the souffle's good side!

Dee said...

Sformato is my new word for the day. Going to ggole it in a bit. This joust is a toughie, and you did great. I did think you'd skipped the parsley for a moment there.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Sformato is a great word - and very liberating concept!

kat said...

such a beautiful entry!

Sam said...

That looks unbelievably tasty!

Sarah said...

You're speaking my language--I love fennel and goat cheese! What a lovely tart.

Esi said...

I am super impressed. I saw the ingredients for this month's challenge thinking it would be the first one I would try, but I couldn't come up with much.

NKP said...

So wonderful. You are amazing.
I love the fallback positions that the souffle was willing to take if it fell. Very creative!
ps, I read on Esi's site that you don't know The Barefoot Contessa. I can't believe it! She is who I want to be when I grow up.

Darius T. Williams said...

Wow - now this is what I'm talking about. I bet the flavors of this are undeniably perfect!


Alicia Foodycat said...

Thanks everyone! This one was certainly a challenge. I really prefer fennel raw but this confit is so good!

Esi - I think I saw the barefoot contessa on TV once - but we don't have a TV so I don't get to watch a lot! But the recipes the barefoot bloggers do all look wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh! Thats is so yummy. I have never made a souflee but I might try this soon! Good luck!

alexandra's kitchen said...

oh wow. what a delectable combination. I haven't made a souffle in years. I am feeling inspired.

grace said...

i've never been quite brave enough to make a souffle, but when i do scrounge up the courage, this one's on my list. :)

Laurie said...

I'm gathering my courage to enter my first Joust, but if I'm allowed to vote (I'm having a hard time figuring out the specifics of it all), I'm voting for your entry.

Wow, a souffle - and so gorgeous it must have hurt to serve it up.

Thistlemoon said...

I love your souffle theory - there is never a disaster! Very nice! This looks really yummy! You just can't go wrong with goat cheese!!
Best of luck!!!

Alicia Foodycat said...

That is my view of goats cheese to Jenn - but I know some people whose definition of hell would involve fennel and goats cheese!


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