Debbie Major’s light-as-air soufflés require very few ingredients and really show off the beauty of asparagus. Want to make them yourself? Get the full recipe.
How to make:
Melt the butter in a small pan and use a little of it to brush the insides of 6 x 250-300ml ovenproof baking dishes. Sprinkle a little of the grated cheese into each dish and tip on its side, turning them to coat the insides with the cheese. Put the coated dishes in a baking tray.
Cut or snap off the woody ends from each asparagus spear – you should be left with about 300g. Cut the remainder into 5cm lengths, keeping the tips separate from the stalks. Drop the stalks into a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 6-8 minutes until tender. Drain an d refresh under cold water. Drop the tips into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender, then drain and refresh. Dry the asparagus pieces on kitchen paper, then tip the stalks into a food processor and blend into a smooth purée. Season lightly and set aside.
Warm the milk in a small pan until just above blood temperature. Reheat the rest of the melted butter and when it is bubbling hot, stir in the flour and leave it to cook gently for about 30 seconds. Take the pan off the heat and gradually beat in the warm milk with a wooden spoon (or a whisk) until the mixture is smooth. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring. Lower the heat and simmer gently for3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the egg yolks, followed by three quarters of the remaining cheese and the asparagus purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a large, clean and dry mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Vigorously stir a large spoonful of the beaten egg white into the sauce to loosen it slightly, then very gently fold in the remainder with a metal spoon or balloon whisk, using a figure of eight motion. When mixed, spoon the mixture equally into the prepared dishes, filling them to within 2.5cm of the top, then push the reserved asparagus tips gently into the top of the mixture. Sprinkle lightly with the remaining grated cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up, golden and just cooked through.