Chard soufflé with anchovy sauce
Soufflés are easier to make than you think. They are immensely comforting to eat and much of the work can be done in advance. You can prepare one up to step 9 and keep it in the fridge for an hour or so before baking. Use a low serving dish for this: the rise will not disappoint and it will cook in less time. You can use the egg yolks left over to make the custard.
This recipe originally appeared in the February edition of House & Garden magazine.
For the anchovy sauce
- 400ml white wine
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 10 salted anchovy fillets in oil
- 200g very cold unsalted butter, cubed
For the soufflé
- 400g chard
- 400ml full-fat milk
- 50g unsalted butter
- 4tbsp self-raising flour
- ½tsp cayenne pepper
- Few grates of nutmeg
- 6 eggs (6 whites and 4 yolks)
- For the anchovy sauce, put the wine and garlic into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then cook until reduced by half. If it reduces too much, you will have too little sauce (you want at least 200ml). Strain the wine into a bowl and set aside, then return the garlic to the pan.
- Roughly chop the anchovies and add to the garlic. Cook on a low heat until they begin to melt, squashing the garlic against the side of the pan so it breaks up a little.
- Add the wine and chunks of butter, one or two at a time. Whisk as they melt into the sauce to form an emulsion. When all are incorporated, push the sauce through the sieve, pressing through the garlic and discarding any tough bits. Set aside.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/mark 6. Remove the stalks from the chard and boil in salted water for a minute or two, until floppy. Drain, refresh under cold water and then squeeze out as much moisture as you can. In a food processor, chop the chard very finely and set aside.
- Warm the milk in a small pan until just below boiling. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Use some to brush the insides of a soufflé dish up to the top of the rim.
- Add the flour to the remaining butter and cook, stirring for 1–2 minutes on a low heat. You want the flour to cook slightly without the butter browning. Pour all the hot milk over the flour and butter, and stir to combine so it forms a smooth liquid. Increase the heat so it bubbles, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of thick cream.
- Add this to the chopped chard in the food processor, with the cayenne and nutmeg. Add the 4 egg yolks and season well with plenty of sea salt and freshly ground pepper – it should taste full of flavour. Decant into a large bowl (large enough to add the voluminous whites) and set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the 6 egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. Fold them carefully into the chard béchamel and pour the whole mixture into the prepared soufflé dish.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is risen and browned, and the middle feels wobbly. Warm through the anchovy sauce to serve. This is delicious with a lettuce and shaved fennel salad to mop up the sauce.