Cauliflower Souffle… Cooking with Madame E. Sant Ange

Well I told you I would be back with some inspiration from my new book La Bonne Cuisine De Madame E. Sant Ange…The Original Companion for French Home Cooking. Jessica’s Biscuit offered this book a incredible sale price of $9.00. Its worth far more.Flicking through I see this book is not for the novice, or one who wants a recipe all spelled out for them. First published in 1927 by the folks who also published Laurousse Gastronomique, its been a indispensable guide to the common home cook and the great cooks and chefs like Madeline Kamman and our American Julia Child.Paul Aratow lovingly took on the task of translating this resource in the voice of Madame. Paul Aratow was one of the original founders of Chez Panisse along with Alice Waters, and used this book as his kitchen guide!So you are reading a cookbook for readers at the time of early twentieth century. Don’t expect to find modern equipment mentioned, cooking temperatures, etc. Madame can go on about technique, exact measurements, equipment, utensils, and ‘science’ but this book calls on you to use your prior experience and basically figure it out. So don’t expect a lot of exact instructions. I rather like this way of learning as its more challenging and in the end I learn more.
So today I chose something with cauliflower. I have an abundance of it . Certain Someone loves it , and I find it OK. Bland but OK. I’m challenged finding new ways to cook it.The book describes this vegetable as a basic one found mostly in home cooking. Not glamorous at all. Looking at this I had most of the ingredients and changed some others( which the Madame strongly cautions against). The components of the souffle called for a Bechamel, mashed cauliflower, egg whites, yolks,Parmesan,and butter. I didn’t have Parmesan so I substituted a Colby( talk about Americanization!). Now I thought I knew Bechamel . I don’t know Bechamel. I had to refer to her sauce chapter to find this classic component of a lot of meat free cooking. I went with the Bechamel Maigre( lean Bechamel) because it only requires milk, not heavy cream. It also requires a Mirepoix( carrots, onion, celery finely diced). I never knew. But I never claimed to to be a pro. I didn’t have carrots or celery. I did have leeks, mace for nutmeg, and mushrooms. Some Becahmels can use the whites of leeks, mushroom trimmings, and even ham in the Mirepoix. So I used leek whites and mushrooms to give that Aromatic dimension to this white sauce. After slowly cooking the roux, milk, added sauteed mirepoix, you gently strain out the solids. I got what looked like a cream of mushroom soup with out the mushrooms bits. Nevertheless a good flavor for my souffle. The short recipe calls for you to combine the 87/8 OZ od mashed cauliflower , with 3/4 cup of Becahmel. Add 3 yolks, a walnut sized piece of butter,grated parmesan,fold into 4 whites that have been tuned into ‘SNOW’. Cook for 20 -25 minutes.

Most Souffles I have made had a choux sort of base with flour. This didn’t. I should have baked it in smaller dishes, It rose , but didn’t rise past the top of my larger souffles dish. Nevertheless the outcome was good. A light nice lunch to serve alongside a salad. Great for your non meat eater friends. Is it outstanding. I wouldn’t say that but a great recipe for when your perplexed as to what to do with that head if cauliflower. There are way more better and interesting recipes in this book. I’m just starting with with what I have on hand. That’s what makes you a better cook Ne C’est Pas?

I will be announcing a Giveaway shortly related to an upcoming book review. Stay Tuned!