Light, fluffy soufflés never fail to impress, yet they are surprisingly easy to make. This recipe uses the fish-poaching milk to make the soufflé base, and fresh herbs and chopped tomatoes are added for a lovely flavour. Serve straight from the oven for a special occasion lunch.
300 g smoked cod fillet
300 ml low-fat milk
1 teaspoon margarine
1 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoons fine dried breadcrumbs
¼ cup (35 g) cornflour
3 medium eggs, separated
1 medium egg white
250 g tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh chives
salt and pepper
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Put the cod and milk in a saucepan and heat until just simmering. Poach gently for about 8 minutes or until the fish flakes when tested with a fork. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the fish to cool in the milk. When the fish is cool enough to handle, remove it and flake the flesh, discarding the skin. Set the poaching milk aside to cool. (Reserve about half a cup of the milk in a separate bowl to mix with the cornflour; it will cool more quickly.)
Put a baking tray in the oven and preheat the oven to 190ºC. Lightly grease a 1.75 litre soufflé dish with the margarine. Mix together the Parmesan and breadcrumbs, then sprinkle over the bottom and side of the dish, turning the dish to coat evenly. Shake out any excess crumb mixture and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the cornflour with the half cup of reserved cold poaching milk to make a smooth paste. Heat the remaining milk until almost boiling, then pour into the cornflour mixture, stirring constantly. Return to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring to make a thick sauce.
Slightly beat the egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually pour the hot sauce into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Stir in the flaked cod, tomatoes, mustard, parsley, chives and salt and pepper to taste.
In a clean, dry mixing bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until stiff enough to hold soft peaks. Fold a quarter of the whites into the sauce mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whites.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish and sprinkle the top with the reserved Parmesan and breadcrumb mixture. Set the dish on the hot baking tray and bake for about 35 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Serve at once.
Some more ideas…
• Smoked cod is sometimes called cape cod; it can be bought from a fishmonger. Many supermarkets sell frozen cod; thaw and drain before using.
GOAT'S CHEESE AND SUN-DRIED TOMATO SOUFFLÉ • Put ⅓ cup (30 g) sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) in a small bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drain and finely chop. • In step 3, make the thick sauce base with ¼ cup (35 g) cornflour and 300 ml low-fat milk. After beating in the egg yolks, add 100 g creamy goat's cheese and beat until smooth. • Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and the herbs, and season with salt and pepper to taste. • Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites, then spoon the mixture into the soufflé dish. Finish and bake as in step 6.
By thickening the soufflé base with cornflour, instead of following the more traditional method using butter, the total fat content of this fluffy soufflé is reduced.