Tuesday, February 12, 2008

February 12: Brie Souffle

One of my favorite things in the world is a cookbook called The Silver Palate Cookbook. If my house were on fire, I would probably save my wedding pictures and pictures from my son's first two years of life, but only because I have the negatives and the cookbook can be replaced.

This cookbook was first published in 1982 by proprieters of a gourmet shop in New York City. Julee Rosso, who happens to be from my hometown, was one of the two authors. In 1988, she and her partner sold The Silver Palate. She now owns and operates a country inn called The Wickwood, in Saugatuck, Michigan. Saugatuck happens to be far and away my favorite place on earth. I grew up an hour or so away from this town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and my heart and soul is inexorably tied to this place, this little arts community and resort town full of boats and smart and creative people and quirky. I love the quirky. Over Christmas, when Dan and I were in Michigan, we dropped our son off with his parents and drove on up to Saugatuck for a day. It snowed madly all day, and we ducked into bars and restaurants all up and down the street to warm up for a drink or a glass of local wine or a snack. We had crispy fried portabello strips breaded in parmesan and fennel seeds at Phil's, and a bowl of clean-your-clock spicy chili at The Butler. It was maybe the best day I've had ever, and for no real reason except for the fact that there is something totally serendipitous and otherworldly about the place for me, for my husband. It is part of our story together, and although we're 14 hours away now, it will always feel a little like home to us.

Wow, I've wandered far afield. Julee Rosso of Saugatuck, Michigan, has this fabulous cookbook. It talks smartly and clearly and thoughtfully about really great, creative, and delicious food that has worked for them for over 30 years. One of my favorite recipes in it is this brie souffle. It isn't a "real" souffle, more like a savory bread pudding, but it is so rich and luxurious. I think it would be amazing for a special brunch, served along fresh fruit and champagne. I can't wait to have a reason to make this.

Serves 4-6.

Brie Souffle

8 Tbsp. (one stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 slices good quality white sandwich bread (I like Pepperidge Farms Hearty White), crusts removed
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of Tabasco
3 eggs
1 pound slightly underripe Brie, rind removed

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 1 1/2-quart souffle dish.

Butter one side of the bread slices and cut each slice into thirds. Whisk together the milk, salt, Tabasco, and eggs. Coarsely grate the Brie.

Arrange half of the bread, buttered side up, on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle evely with half of the brie and then repeat, using the remaining bread and Brie. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Bake until bubbling and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

1 comment:

merseydotes said...

Sounds like a strata to me. I love stratas for brunch, not just because you can prepare the casserole the night before so the egg really soaks into the bread and just pop it in the oven the next morning. Joy of Cooking calls strata a cross between an omelet and french toast, and the addition of brie sounds great.