Nancy's Cheese Souffle

Friday evenings used to be a night out, an opportunity to let off steam at week's end. Just a few year ago I'd leave work promptly at 5 p.m. and meet friends for happy hour, welcoming the weekend with a glass of wine and a few fancy bar snacks. These days I'm far more likely to sit on the couch with the DVD remote and a large glass of seltzer water at the end of the week. Is it a sign of age or good sense? I'm not sure, but I know a slower Friday routine seems to suit me. 

That said, I hate to be anti-social, and curling up alone on the sofa can be isolating. When my friend Cathy invited me to dinner last Friday night I happily accepted. It was a great break from my stay-at-home routine, low-key but entertaining. We caught up over a delightful homemade meal — cheese souffle served alongside a crisp green salad. Rich but not heavy, the souffle was warm and comforting, its golden brown top rising a few inches above the rim of the casserole dish, wobbling oh-so-softly when removed from the oven. 

I love cheese souffle as a main course, but it would make a lovely starter to a larger meal. Experiment with different cheeses — I'm fond of Roquefort souffles accompanied by a salad of peppery watercress dressed with lemon.

Cathy followed her mother Nancy's recipe. It's wonderful.

Cheese Souffle
Recipe from Nancy Bryson

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
4-6 eggs, separated (depending on how many you're feeding)
2 cup grated cheese (Cathy used cheddar)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour.  Add the milk, stirring constantly. Beat the egg yolks and add to the white sauce. Take off heat and stir in grated cheese.  Whip egg whites until stiff and fold into cheese sauce. Place in lightly greased souffle dish and bake for about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.