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Recipe for :

Twice Cooked Red Pepper Soufflé
 

This recipe has been published with the kind permission of Alex Mackay who, among other things, runs Le Baou D'Infer cookery school. Alex is the former director of the cookery school at Raymond Blanc's world famous Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons. He has also worked in the kitchens of three two-star Michelin restaurants in France, making him as informed about French cuisine as he is fluent in the language.

For part of the year Alex runs Le Baou D'Infer, a cookery school with a difference. Located in the heart of the breathtaking Provençal countryside, yet just twenty minutes from St Tropez, the school is in the grounds of a working vineyard, steeped in the dappled light and the fragrance of herbs which make this area of France so unforgettable. The great thing is that anyone can enrol for a week with Alex.

Le Baou D'Infer is a unique cookery school, in particular because of its intimate class sizes. There is a maximum of six students per course, which means that you will have Alex Mackay's undivided attention, whatever your culinary questions or requirements. Personal encouragement and Alex's total involvement are assured for every guest, which means you get the ultimate enjoyment and a sense of confidence and achievement from your time there.

"The red pepper soufflé may be made six or so hours in advance ready for it's second cooking. The red pepper chutney may be done at the same time as may the Tabouleh salad".

Ingredients

For lining the moulds:
20 g softened Butter
6 tbsp coarse dried Breadcrumbs
6 tbsp chopped Parsley

For the soufflé:
20 g Butter
10 g Plain flour
70 ml Milk
1 large Red pepper
1 small mild Chilli
1 large Egg yolk
3 Egg Whites
6 tbs Basil Pesto
50 g Breadcrumbs (for the second baking)

The Red Pepper Chutney:
2 large Red Peppers, seeded and sliced into strips
3 tbsp Olive Oil
50 ml Water
30 ml Red Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Honey

The Tabouleh salad:
80 g Couscous soaked in 80 ml hot water
2 Shallots, finely chopped
1 small bunch of Parsley, picked and finely chopped
40 ml Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Method

For the soufflés:

  • Preheat your oven to 190°C / 375 °F / Gas mark 5
  • Line six ramekins with the softened butter and the breadcrumbs and parsley. Set aside.
  • Place the red pepper and chilli over an open flame, turning them until they are blackened on all sides.
  • Place them into a bowl and cover with clingfilm then leave for ten minutes. Peel the pepper and chilli then remove all of the seeds.
  • Purée them both then transfer the purée to a pan.
  • Reduce the purée over a high heat, stirring constantly until you are left with a third of it's volume. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the flour until smooth.
  • Whisk in the milk and return to the heat, bring to the boil and add the red pepper purée.
  • Cool slightly then whisk in the egg yolk, transfer to a bowl.
  • Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks then mix a third with the pepper mixture, add the remaining two thirds and fold gently to combine.
  • Fill the lined ramekins with two thirds of this mixture, place a teaspoon of the basil pesto in each then cover with the remainder of the mixture.
  • Place them into a bain Marie of hot water that reaches 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins and bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes( the soufflés should still be slightly soft in the centres)
  • Leave the soufflés to cool slightly then remove from the moulds.
  • Transfer to a tray on top of the 50 g of breadcrumbs. Set aside and turn the oven up to 210ºC

For the red pepper chutney:

  • Place the peppers into a pan with the honey, water and vinegar. Cover and then allow to simmer over a medium heat for 10 minutes until the peppers soften.
  • Remove from the heat, season to taste and set aside.

For the Tabouleh salad:

  • Mix all of the ingredients together then season to taste.

Finishing the dish and serving:

  • Place the soufflés in the preheated oven for 5 minutes until they develop a crust.
  • While these are heating place a pile of the peppers and the tabouleh salad at opposite ends of four plates.
  • Spoon the pepper cooking juices around then gently put the soufflés in the centre.
  • Serve without delay.

Notes:

  • When incorporating the first third of the egg whites into the béchamel the idea is to get the béchamel mixture as close as possible to the texture of the beaten egg whites, so don't be afraid to exert yourself a little at this stage for if the two mixtures are at the same texture you will lose a lot less volume in the finished product.
  • A little lemon juice needs to be added during the whisking process. This has no effect on the volume but makes the whites less prone to coagulation which will make the soufflés granular.
  • The soufflés must be slightly undercooked on the first cooking or they will not rise during the second.

Serves 4

Alex Mackay

 
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