Asparagus and fresh cheese soufflés
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Remove the hard white end (about 2 cm/1 inch) from each asparagus stalk. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom half of each stalk and then cut asparagus into pieces, keeping the tip whole.
- Bring water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat and add asparagus. Cook, uncovered, for 6 minutes, or until asparagus is cooked and still slightly crisp. Drain, and reserve 8 tips for garnish.
- Crush asparagus pieces coarsely with a fork and allow to cool. Butter eight 125 mL (1/2-cup) ramekins and set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and then stir in flour. Cook for about 1 minute. Pour in milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.
- Add cheese, egg yolks and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and combine thoroughly. Gently stir in asparagus. Reserve.
- Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold one-third of beaten egg whites into asparagus mixture. Incorporate remaining egg whites by folding in.
- Divide batter among ramekins and place in a large ovenproof dish. Pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up ramekins. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of soufflés comes out clean and tops are slightly golden.
- Serve immediately upon removing from oven.
- Garnish with lemon zest and asparagus tips. The soufflés are delicious as an appetizer or a brunch dish. For a main course, serve with a salad of greens and mixed beans.