Creole Eggplant Soufflé
2 tablespoons butter
* firmly packed grated mild white cheese of your choice
1 medium stalk celery, diced
1 tablespoon unbleached white flour
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk
1/2 cup fresh, soft bread crumbs
3 eggs, separated, room temp.
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
1 cup grated white cheese *
1 dash cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large skillet, heat butter till it foams. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and sauté over low heat until the onion is translucent. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring until well blended. Add the herbs and sauté, stirring until the mixture just begins to brown. Add the milk and the diced eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds). Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is quite tender. Add a bit of water from time to time if necessary, just enough to keep the bottom of the skillet moist. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper to taste, cayenne, and 3 egg yolks.
In another bowl, beat the 3 egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then fold them gently into the eggplant mixture. Pour the mixture into a well-oiled 1 1/2 qt baking casserole or soufflé pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Let the soufflé sit for 5 minutes, then serve at once.
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