Delicately-flavored with a light, creamy texture, Goat Cheese and Roasted Cauliflower Souffles are great for a vegetarian lunch or brunch with a side salad.Inspired by "Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Soufflés,"Saveur magazine (March, 2015)
1tablespoonsnipped fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
freshly-ground black pepper
Prepare ramekins and soufflé collars:
Butter six, 10-ounce ramekins and coat each with about 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, tapping out excess. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and chill until ready to use. Cut parchment collars for the ramekins to extend past the top of each ramekin 1-1/2 to 2 inches.* Set aside (don't secure onto ramekins until ready to bake).
Roast the cauliflower and garlic:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with rack in middle position. Cut a small slice off of each end of the garlic cloves, exposing the interior without removing the peels. Toss cauliflower florets, garlic, and olive oil on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a few pinches of kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper. Roast 25-30 minutes, turning cauliflower florets halfway through for even browning, until tender and caramelized. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Squeeze garlic cloves from peels and discard the skins.
Make the soufflé base:
Make the Béchamel Sauce and let cool 2-3 minutes. Whisk in egg yolks, one at a time, until fully combined and smooth. Place a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming and set aside.
In a food processor, process roasted cauliflower, garlic, goat cheese, ground nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper until you have a smooth puree. Scrape the bowl as needed to ensure that all of the cauliflower is incorporated. Whisk cauliflower puree and 1 tablespoon chopped chives into the Béchamel-egg yolk sauce until combined. If the mixture is still warm, let it stand until it reaches room temperature.
Assemble the soufflés:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a clean bowl with a hand mixer, whip egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue whipping until whites are voluminous and stiff, but not dry.
Whisk about 1 cup of the egg whites into the cauliflower mixture to lighten. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites in 2-3 additions, until no streaks remain. Divide the soufflé mixture between the six prepared ramekins. Grease pre-cut parchment collars and secure onto the exterior of the ramekins with kitchen twine or pins.
Place the ramekins (on the chilled cookie sheet) into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake 25-30 minutes, until soufflés are puffed, light golden brown, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean or just slightly moist. Remove from oven and gently but swiftly remove collars (soufflés might deflate a little during removal). Sprinkle with chopped chives, if desired, and serve immediately.
*Parchment collars help the soufflés rise high without collapsing on themselves, or overflowing, in the oven. For the collars on the 10-ounce ramekins pictured here, I cut 15-inch wide pieces of parchment to lengths of 6-inches, and folded them in half lengthwise for stability (creating collars of 15-inches by 3-inches). I always use cooking spray to grease my collars (I find it's the most convenient and effective way to go), but brushing with melted butter also works well. It's best to have the collars cut in advance of portioning the soufflé batter. (Photo of collar attached to ramekin on my Flickr photostream.)