Here it is, the end of July and I am happily swimming in fresh, ripe, homegrown tomatoes. It’s an event I look forward to all year. It’s hard to beat a just picked sweet tomato still warm from the sun and I have picked well over 30 tomatoes from my three healthy plants in my garden so far this summer. I have also successfully grown some basil (finally!) so I can now enjoy my favorite herb for a while. One thing I didn’t expect this summer was to be swimming in fresh farm eggs from our neighbors, we’ll call them “The crazy H’s”. The H’s are fantastic people and we look forward to egg day every week. They are leading a life I can only dream about right now. They not only have a huge family garden, but also chickens, goats, a horse, a couple of dogs, 5 kids and a milk cow. I could write a whole blog post on them and maybe I will one day.
Anyway,I get 3 dozen eggs a week ( one is for Mom) and it only takes a few days of not being home for us to get behind on our egg consumption. You are probably wondering why I get so many eggs a week, the answer is…because they are delicious and we eat a lot of eggs.
So a while ago I found myself with 4 dozen eggs with egg day right around the corner. So I needed to make a dish that would use a lot of eggs and tomatoes since I had so much. I thought…Souffle!! I had never made a souffle but I figured it couldn’t be as difficult as everyone made it out to be. So I got out my trusty Good Housekeeping Cookbook, decided what kind of tweaks of my own I was using and got started.
The result was phenomenal. If you have never had a souffle, it is very creamy and light. Almost like a pudding. The tomatoes and basil add in some great summertime flavor and the cheese…well, cheese is never a bad thing. I think the trick to this dish is not to be intimidated by it, don’t open the door, and use plenty of salt. Honestly, this is a delicious dinner or even brunch dish and I am looking forward to making another one again soon!
Cheesy Tomato Basil Souffle
4 T butter
1/4 cup AP Flour
1 1/2 cups warm milk
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 T shredded Parmesan
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 t. salt
6 large eggs, separated
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
handful of basil chopped
Preheat oven to 325. Spray a souffle dish or straight sided casserole ( about 2 qts) with cooking spray.
Make a bechamel sauce – melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan then add in flour. Stir for 30 seconds then whisk in the milk. Cook over medium heat until the sauce has thickened and comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes and then stir in the cheddar and parmesan cheese, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir until cheese has melted then remove from heat.
In a bowl beat egg yolks lightly. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of cheese sauce. Gradually whisk egg yolk mix back into the saucepan. Mix in tomato and basil, transfer to bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold in a third of the egg whites into cheese mix. Fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Pour mixture into the prepared souffle dish. Run your thumb around the inside edge of the dish to create an indent. (This will give you the top-hat look) Bake until souffle is puffy and golden, about 55 minutes. Do not open the door until it is done!
Serve and enjoy!