Roasted cauliflower was quite a recent revelation to me, and its really rather good. None of that watery texture or school-dinner smell, it is tender but intensely tasty.
So here I’ve incorporated it into a cheesy soufflé to turn cauliflower cheese into something a little more elegant. I like the idea of having an unexpected texture at the bottom of a soufflé dish, and roasting cauliflower makes sure that there’s no water to turn it soggy.
This is the sort of dish I would be thrilled to see on a pub or restaurant menu, served with chunky chips, (beats another mushroom risotto any day!).
Roasted Cauliflower & Cheddar Soufflé
Ingredients½ cauliflower, broken into florets Olive oil 30g butter, plus extra for greasing 30g plain flour 225ml milk 1 slice of white bread, made into fine breadcrumbs 3 large eggs pinch mustard powder pinch cayenne pepper 100g cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Toss cauliflower florets in olive oil and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until tender.
2. Melt butter in a small pan and add flour. Cook gently for 2-3 minutes stirring to remove any lumps. Add the milk little by little, whisking as you go. Heat gently until it boils, then simmer for 5 minutes until thickened. Transfer to a large bowl to cool.
4. Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a large, clean bowl.
5. Pour boiling water from the kettle into a deep roasting tin to about an inch deep, and put into the oven.
6. Add the cayenne, mustard powder and cheese to the white sauce, then stir in the egg yolks one by one. Season well.
7. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, then stir a couple of tablespoons into the cheese mix to loosen. Then slowly and gently fold in the rest with a metal spoon.
8. Place the cooled cauliflower florets into the bottom of each ramekin, spoon over the soufflé mix, and level the top with a knife.
9. Run your finger around the inside rim of each ramekin to create a groove, (this will make your soufflés rise evenly), then immediately place the ramekins into the tin of water and cook for 12 minutes until golden and well risen. Serve absolutely immediately!
Top tip from Felicity Cloake – believe it or not, soufflés can be frozen successfully after stage 8 above – just add an extra 5 minutes in the oven if cooking from frozen!