Real French Muenster (available at specialty foods stores) will make a big
difference in this soufflé. What to drink: A dry white wine with plenty of
perfume, like Gewürztraminer.
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup 1/3-inch cubes rindless French Muenster cheese (about 4 ounces)
Bring milk just to simmer in small saucepan; remove from heat. Melt butter in
heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook roux 2 minutes,
whisking constantly (do not brown). Gradually whisk in warm milk. Cook until
sauce is smooth and thick enough to drop from whisk in thin ribbon, whisking
constantly, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cumin and season
generously with salt and pepper; transfer to medium bowl. Cool 10 minutes.
(Soufflé base can be made ahead. Press plastic wrap onto surface. Let stand 2
hours or chill 1 day. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 4- to
5-cup soufflé dish; coat inside with panko. Whisk egg yolks into soufflé base 1
at a time; stir in cheese cubes. Beat egg whites and pinch of salt in another
medium bowl until stiff but not dry.
Fold egg whites into soufflé base in
3 additions; transfer to prepared dish.
Bake soufflé until puffed, brown on
top, and firm but jiggly to touch, about 28 minutes. Spoon soufflé onto 4
plates. Arrange salad alongside and serve.
Kitchen tip: To cube soft Muenster
cheese, pare off the rind, then cut cheese into 1/3-inch slices. Freeze slices
15 minutes to firm, then cut into small cubes. Separate cubes on plate and
chill. *Available at some supermarkets and at Asian markets.
Makes 4 servings.