I had a double whammy the other night: a late board meeting at Old Lyme Country Club (which for some reason doesn’t mitigate at all my obligation to shop for, and make dinner), and a chunk of leftover ham I wanted to use because, well, I am loath to throw away any kind of animal protein because some critter gave up its life for me, and I won’t dishonor that by throwing it away.
Feeling like a very French housewife without the lace apron or the language skills, I whipped up this souffle in no time flat when I got home. AND started the laundry while it was in the oven. Feather light and satisfying, serve this with a handful of dressed greens for a delicious late-night supper. Le voila monsieur! Follow my new restaurant project Carlson’s Landing on Facebook, or at CarlsonsLanding.com.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a 6-cup souffle dish with 2 tablespoons of the butter. Make a band of aluminum foil large enough to fit around the circumference plus a couple more inches needed to crimp it together. Butter one side of the foil with 1 tablespoon of the butter, and secure it to the dish, butter to the inside. Set the dish aside.
Melt the remaining ¼ cup butter in a medium saucepot set over medium low heat. Whisk in the flour, salt, mustard, white and cayenne pepper. Cook the roux over medium low heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or so until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil and stir for one minute longer. Stir in the cheeses and ham and transfer this mixture to a large stainless bowl. Separate your room-temperature eggs and beat the yolks on high in your stand mixer for 5 minutes on high until the yolks are thick and lemon-yellow colored. Add the egg yolks to the cheese mixture and stir to combine. Wash out the mixer bowl and whisk, add the egg whites and cream of tartar to the mixer bowl and beat on high until stiff but not dry. Fold 2/3 of the egg whites into the ham and cheese mixture until well combined. Fold in the remaining egg whites and pour into the prepared souffle dish. Bake on the middle rack for 45-50 minutes until the top is brown and the sides look dry. Serve right away. Serves 4.