This week I have the extraordinary opportunity to be a participant in the Marx Foods 4th Annual Blogger Morel Recipe Challenge. This is an annual contest open to bloggers like me or, to coin a phrase, “morelnauts”, to help celebrate the Morel mushroom, which comes into season in a few short weeks. I simply offered up my interest, and was dutifully accepted! So, having received my free sample of dried morels, it was time to suit up.
My first thought, after consulting with my wife, was to make a fresh ramp and morel quiche, but I really wanted to put some sizzle into my entry. So after pondering it for a bit, I thought, “Fortune favors the audacious”, I instantly said, SOUFFLÉ! Problem number 1; I had never made a soufflé before! I had all the flavor affinities in my head, the eggs, the morels, the ramps, the goat cheese. I just needed to learn how to make the vehicle! So on Saturday, I went about my research and even took a test drive and made a Mexican Chocolate Soufflé! I soon learned that a savory soufflé is nothing more than an enriched bechamel sauce with some egg whites folded in! I can make a bechamel with my eyes shut, so this should be fun!
Morels have a unique earthy flavor and a musty aroma that pairs quite well with the pungent, garlicky-onion flavor of the fresh ramps. They are both at their prime in the spring, so why not use them together! I was able to find some fresh ramps at a local purveyor this weekend, and I thought why not deepen that earthy flavor with the deep smoky flavor of the poblano chile and toss in some rich, tangy goat cheese. Finally I added a bit of freshness with the chopped cilantro plus, I cannot be too far away from my Mexican flavors!
Well, here it is, my entry into the Marx Foods 4th Annual Blogger Morel Recipe Challenge! Enjoy…
Morel, Wild Ramp, Poblano & Goat Cheese Soufflé
- 2 oz. dried morels
- 2 chile poblanos
- 4 oz. fresh ramps
- 2 oz. fresh goat cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 egg whites
- Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.
- Take 4 – 8 oz. souflee cups and grease with some butter.
- Soak the mushrooms in hot water for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, drain and dry very well with some paper towels.
- Roast the Poblanos in the oven, then peel, remove the seeds and de-vein. Chop to a nice dice and set aside.
- Wash the fresh ramps and remove the roots and the greens
- In a food processor, place the morels and the ramps and pulse several times to a nice coarse chop.
- In a medium sautee pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Then saute the ramps and morels for about 3-4 minutes, ensuring that any liquid is cooked off.
- Add the chopped poblanos and the dried thyme and continue to sautee for another 2 minutes to incorporate all the flavors. Then set aside.
- For the bechamel, heat 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Continue to cook until the mixture has a slightly golden color and smells a bit nutty, about 3 minutes.
- Take the milk and add it a bit at a time, continuously whisking as you add the milk. I usually add it in 1/4 cup portions. Make sure to whisk out any lumps!
- Once all the milk is added, add the goat cheese and season the bechamel with white pepper and salt.
- Now, incorporate the mushroom, ramp, and poblano sautee, and the chopped cilantro, mix well.
- Remove the sauce from the heat.
- Separate your yolks and whites, whisk the egg yolks until they are a pale yellow.
- Take about a large spoonful of the bechamel and temper the yolks so they do not cook once you add them to the bechamel.
- Once they have been tempered, add them to the bechamel and mix well. Cover the pan with some plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the sauce.
- Take the egg whites and whisk until the have hard peaks (I take the bowl and invert it over my head, if they do not fall out and hit me, the whites are ready!) TIP: For greater lift make sure you use egg whites that are at ROOM TEMPERATURE!
- Now fold the whites into the sauce in 3 different stages. Simply divide the whites into thirds and fold each section separately.
- Take your greased souflee cups and spoon the sauce into each one a little more than 3/4 of the way up each one.
- Place in the center of your oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
- Quick!!! Serve immediately before they deflate!