Souffle doesn't have to be a difficult dish to cook well. Try these for an impressive special meal with a really unusual chicory twist. Serve with a simple green salad and shavings of cheese.
8 medium heads of chicory
Juice of 1 lemon
30g plain flour
280ml full fat milk
3 large eggs, separated
Sea salt, black pepper and nutmeg
150g grated gruyere or cheddar cheese
Set the oven to 190 degrees C or Gas Mark 5.
Butter a 1.3 litre souffle dish, or 4 individual ramekin dishes.
Trim the chicory of any damaged leaves, then cook it with the lemon juice in a large pan of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
Drain the chicory, squeeze out any excess fluid gently, then pat dry with a tea towel. Then either chop very finely or whizz to a puree in a food processor.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour to make a roux and cook for 1 minute. Then whisk in the milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes, add half the cheese and stir well until it has melted.
Cool the sauce slightly and add the egg yolks and chicory puree. Season well with salt, black pepper and nutmeg (remembering the seasoning will be diluted when the egg whites are added).
Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the chicory mixture.
Pour into your dish(es) and bake in the oven for 20 minutes (large dish) or 12 minutes (small dishes). To serve, sprinkle over each portion some gruyere or cheddar cheese.