Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Monday, July 6th - Carribean Salmon/Crab Souffle

Wonderful, simple and tasty. No cheese!

Wine: Pares Balta Blanco B 2008,

As you can see, I'm still fiddling with the layout and storyboard but it's an organic project for me. Tonight is what happens when you have too many eggs in the house. D insists on free range, organic eggs so if we're ever at a farmer's market he picks up a dozen since they're fresher. We bought some over a week ago but since we hadn't done a big shop he assumed we were out. So when we hit all the farmer stands on the way through Keremeos in the interior of BC, he picked up another dozen. We got home to two dozen eggs! At the farmer's stand, they're still just as expensive as in the grocery which is twice to three times the price of 'regular', sweat-shop eggs. I sorta figured that eggs are eggs, particularly 'invisible' eggs where they are a binding agent in baking. However, if they are the focus, you can see and taste the difference. Crack one next to each other on a flat plate. There are three things you will notice about the organic/free range eggs: 1)yolks are a brighter and deeper yellow (sweat shop ones are quite pale) 2) yolks are more upright and dome shaped 3) whites are not as runny and keep the shape of an iconic fried egg even before cooked (sweat-shop eggs will run out and except for the white nearest the yolk, it is quite watery so you'll have to gather them up as you fry them sunny side up).

Since we had so many eggs, we had a couple of main meal options, soufflee, quiche or omlette. I didn't fancy omlette as we have them so often. We didn't have crust around or cheese for a quiche. I like Souffle's quite alot because they seem fussier than they really are. How many comedy shows have you seen where an inexperienced chef does something wrong and it caves it. That doesn't really happen. Keep the oven door closed and thereby keeping the oven temperature steady. Jiggle to check if it's done. It should wobble a little, it will never completely firm up like an egg-foo-yung (which is also yummy), so never fear as long as you cook it for at least the length of time on the recipe and you trust your egg source.

The extra advantage of this recipe is that you can do it with stuff in the house. A true French souffle will require quite alot of Gruyere cheese which is yummy and nutty but rarely regularly stocked in the house. Also you can play with the seafood you use. We were going to buy some 'picked' shelled crab at the Choices market but we ran out of time so we just used a tin of sockeye salmon. De-bone, de-skin and crumble slightly. No cheese! Make as spicy as you like. D doesn't like spicy so he held to the recipe which is less than mild in the end. I served some scotch bonnet sauce on the side.

Caribbean Salmon (Crab/Seafood) Souffle

1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup mixed fresh herbs: parsley, basil, thyme
(Original required Celery tops but that was the one ingredient we didn't have sitting around so we decided that Parsley was a pretty good approximation and Thyme is a very caribbean herb. Actually, I think when I made this last, I may have read to quickly and used a whole celery stalk which was nice too.)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste
3 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 C milk
4 free range organic egg yolks
1 tin sockeye salmon (1/2 lb crab meat)
6 free range organic egg whites, stiffly beaten
1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Butter a 8 cup souffle dish. Easiest way to do this is to use the butter wrapper or using a pat of butter with some parchement paper or your fingers :-) Be thorough.
Toast coconut in a non-stick skillet over low heat.
In a medium skillet, melt butter over low heat and add the celery, garlic, curry powder, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper - cook for 3 minutes. Stir in flour until smooth for about 1 minute. Pour in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Set aside and cool slightly.
Whisk the egg yolks one at a time into the sauce. Stir in coconut and crab meat.
In medium bowl, beat egg whites and lemon juice with a mixer until stiff, but not dry. Stir 1/4 of the whites into crab mixture. Quickly and gently fold in the remaining whites. Do not deflate the volume.
Transfer mixture to the souffle dish and place it on a rack at the bottom of the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden, puffed and still moist inside.

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