A delicious start to a meal; courgettes really benefit from steaming, both in flavour and texture
4 small courgettes (same size ideally and straight), evenly halved
A little table salt
For the Béchamel
150ml whole milk
For the Soufflé
80g aged comte cheese, grated
1 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 eggs (yolks and whites separated) plus 2 extra whites
- Prepare the courgettes – half them length ways into two even halves. Then very carefully scoop out the white flesh, leaving approximately 3mm of flesh, near the skin. Place the courgette skins on a cooling rack and sprinkle evenly all over with a little table salt, set aside for 15 minutes. Do the same with the flesh (but keep them separate from the skins).
- Place the courgette flesh and the skins on two separated perforated containers and steam on 90°C for 5 minutes. When finished, remove the flesh and steam the skins for another 3 minutes. Drain on kitchen towel and transfer to greased ovenproof dishes.
- Make the béchamel sauce – melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour and simmer gently for a minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the milk, little by little until all has been absorbed. When all added, continue to cook the sauce, whisking consistently until it thickens. Simmer for two minutes, remove from the heat and then transfer into a food processor with the steamed courgette flesh, cheeses and the mustard. Blitz until smooth. Transfer the béchamel to a large bowl and stir in the egg yolks.
- When ready to serve, preheat the oven on Fan Plus at 175°C. Whisk the four egg whites in an electric mixer with a pinch of salt, until stiff peaks, then carefully fold into the béchamel base in two batches and check the seasoning.
- Divide the mixture between the eight dishes and bake for approximately 8 minutes for an individual soufflé or 12 minutes for a large soufflé, until risen slightly. Serve immediately.
About the author
Marianne Lumb’s culinary journey began 30 years ago at her home in Leicestershire where she helped her mother prepare the family meals and inherited her love of food from her father. After training, she was employed by Michelin-starred restaurant Gravetye, during which time she also worked as a private chef with much success. Marianne has cooked in restaurants all over the world and her time spent living abroad has diversified and developed her skills whilst broadening her knowledge on her speciality – seasonal food. On top of her career as a chef, Marianne is an admired teacher at Leiths School of Food and Wine, has produced her first book Kitchen Knife Skills and in September 2013 opened her restaurant, Marianne, which one-month later saw her crowned ‘London Restaurant Festival Chef of the Year’.
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