Hors d’Oeuvres of Summer

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I have always loved the evenings of summer when the days are long and the nights languorous. Settled into the cushions of a chaise or swaying in the embrace of a hammock or even rocking on a porch glider is as close to divinity as life gets. Completing the reverie is a fine vintage wine and deliciously rich little edibles known as finger foods, appetizers and hors d’oeuvres.

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The French have always honored this season of summer when life blooms and grows, producing many of its finest offerings that make their way into everyday cuisine. How can one be indifferent to the fragrance of florets of broccoli, wild mushrooms, baby artichokes, leeks and the staple of freshly clipped herbs that are in abundance throughout.

So in the spirit of un petit goût (a little taste) I discovered ten recipes for French Hors d’Oeuvres from Food and Wine beginning with one of my favorites. A toast to good food, good wine, good friends and evenings that last far beyond the haze of the wine.

cheesesouffle

Goat Cheese and Fresh Herb Soufflé

Ingredients

1. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4. 2 cups milk
5. 1 bay leaf
6. 1/2 pound fresh goat cheese, crumbled
7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
8. 4 large eggs, separated
9. 2 tablespoons minced chives
10. 1 tablespoon minced dill
11. 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
12. 2 teaspoons minced tarragon

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a 2-quart soufflé dish. Add the Parmesan and turn to evenly coat the bottom and side of the dish. Tap out any excess.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour until a smooth paste forms. Whisk in 1 cup of the milk until smooth, then whisk in the remaining 1 cup of milk and add the bay leaf. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking frequently, until very thick, about 10 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl. Stir in the goat cheese and season with salt and pepper, then whisk in the egg yolks. Cover and let cool, then stir in the herbs.
3. In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm but not dry. Fold one-third of the beaten whites into the cheese sauce. Fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few white streaks.
4. Scrape the soufflé mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, or until browned, puffed and still slightly jiggly in the center. Serve at once.

Make Ahead

The soufflé base can be prepared through Step 2, without adding the herbs, and refrigerated overnight. Bring the soufflé base to room temperature and stir in herbs before folding in the beaten egg whites.

 

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~ by eaesthete on 05/28/09.

One Response to “Hors d’Oeuvres of Summer”

  1. Thank you for this post. We love light appetizers in the summer and I’ve run out of ideas. They all look delicious and so wonderfully French!

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