Soufflés are comfort food akin to the light airy quality found in marshmallows. The root vegetables and nutty undertones of Gruyère cheese make it altogether too easy to eat spoonfuls standing at the kitchen stove. Forget plating it. Soufflés are at their best piping hot from the oven, right from the dish.
Carrot Parsnip Soufflé Yield 4 servings 1 to 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil ½ cup carrots (cooked, seasoned, and puréed) ½ cup parsnips (cooked, seasoned, and puréed) Butter, plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, for the dish 3 tablespoons unsalted butter ¼ cup diced shallots 3 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour 1 ¼ cups warm milk sea salt fresh-ground pepper pinch of cayenne pinch ground nutmeg 1 thyme sprig, leaves only 4 egg yolks ¾ cup grated Gruyère cheese (goat’s milk Gruyère is especially good here) 2 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese 6 egg whites Prepare the carrots and parsnips: steam, drain, and season with salt and pepper. Cool slightly then purée in a food processor or a blender with a drizzle of olive oil until smooth, adding slightly more olive oil if necessary. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400F. Butter a 6-cup soufflé dish or another baking dish such as a gratin dish and coat it with the Parmesan. Melt the butter in a deep bottom skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes more. Whisk in the milk all at once and stir vigorously for a minute or so as it thickens, then add salt, pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, and thyme. Remove from heat. Add the carrot and parsnip puree. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time until well blended, then stir in the Gruyère and goat cheeses. Set aside. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form firm peaks. Stir a quarter of them into the base to lighten the mixture. Then gently fold the soufflé base into the rest of the egg whites, being careful not to deflate them. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish, then put in the center of the oven and lower the heat to 375F. Bake for 30 minutes or until puffed and golden, but still soft and wobbly in the center. Serve immediately. (This recipe is inspired by Deborah Madison's recipe for "Goat Cheese Soufflé" found in her book Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone).