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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cauliflower & Leek Soufflé

Lately there has been a buzz surrounding the nutritional benefits of cauliflower and light colored vegetables such as cauliflower, onions and garlic. Most of us have been told that the deeper the color of the vegetable, the greater the nutrients. This myth has recently been debunked, so I decided to use cauliflower, leek and garlic in my souffle in light of these recent findings. Cauliflower has been found to contain sulforaphane, a compound which can reduce the risk of cancer. In addition to cauliflower, I used another light colored vegetable, leeks. Leeks are a member of the garlic and onion family and have a mild onion taste and contain powerful antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Souffles can be sweet or savory and contain eggs and milk and/or cream. Souffles are baked to create a fluffy, airy texture. For my souffle, I wanted to bring in bold flavor, so I added basil, thyme, red pepper, roasted garlic and shallot. The resulting dish turned out delicious; I loved the subtle flavor of the cauliflower and the sweet flavors of roasted garlic and leek. The chili powder added just the right amount of heat, adding to the bold hit of flavor this souffle packs. You could easily serve this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you intend to serve the souffle for dinner, I recommend pairing the souffle with a peppery arugula salad. 

Cauliflower & Leek Souffle 
(serves 4-6)
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 tbsp truffle oil 
1 head garlic, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
2 leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk 
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar or gruyere, shredded
1/2 cup sharp yellow cheddar, shredded 
4 eggs, beaten 
2 tsp basil 
1 tsp thyme
Pinch salt, pepper, chili powder and onion powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place cauliflower on a cookie sheet and drizzle with  olive oil. Roast cauliflower in 450 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. While cauliflower roasts, heat a large skillet with truffle oil and add garlic, leek and shallot and cook until slightly browned. In a soup pot, melt butter and add flour, whisking well. Gradually add milk and whisk until combined and thick over low heat. Remove from heat cool for a few minutes, then add cheese, eggs, spices and cauliflower. Reduce oven temp to 300 and pour into an 8x8 pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until cooked through. 

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