Asparagus Soufflé

Have you ever attempted to make a soufflé and it just didn’t live up to your expectations? That’s when it pays to have friends who actually know what they are doing. After trying unsuccessfully to recreate a fabulous soufflé I enjoyed at a brunch given by chef, and fellow food blogger, Brett of In Praise of Sardines I broke down and asked him for help. Thank goodness for talented friends who are generous with their advice!

Here is what Brett had to say when I asked him for some tips to making my soufflé light and fluffy:

  1. Butter the ramekins thoroughly, then coat with very fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Use cake flour instead of all purpose in the bechamel.
  3. Use extra egg whites. Whip them to soft peaks that are dancing on the edge of becoming stiff peaks.
  4. Work quickly and fold with a light touch.

Brett also shared his soufflé recipe (see his butternut squash pudding soufflé) with me which I fiddled with a bit, incorporating some ideas that seemed to work from my other soufflé endeavors, which I share with you now. Note that soufflés really are a bit tricky to make; this is not a beginner recipe. But if you are confident with your egg white whipping and folding skills, you should have no problem with this one.

What I love about Brett’s approach is that you can actually make these soufflés in advance, which is perfect for a brunch gathering or a party in which you want to have most of the cooking done ahead of time. We ate half of them right out of the oven, and we re-baked the other half for a later meal. Both sets were delicious.

Follow on Pinterest

Asparagus Soufflé Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 6 individual soufflés.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb asparagus spears, bottom ends trimmed and discarded, thick spears peeled, spears cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely ground dry bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp cake flour (can substitute all purpose flour)
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch dry ground mustard
  • Pinch ground cumin
  • Pinch ground ginger
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (can substitute Parmesan, but frankly I prefer the Gruyere)
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 5 egg whites
  • 6 8-ounce ramekins

Method

1 Blanch asparagus for 2 minutes in boiling salted water (1 teaspoon of salt for every quart of water). Drain. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Set aside to let cool.

2 Melt 1 Tbsp butter in saucepan on medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, and thyme. Cook gently until soft, do not let brown. About 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

3 Purée asparagus and shallot mixture in a blender. Measure out 1 1/4 cup of purée.

4 Butter 6 8-ounce ramekins. Coat well with the bread crumbs, reserving any leftover bread crumbs.

5 Make a thick béchamel sauce. Over medium-low heat, melt 3 Tbsp butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add the cake flour and whisk to completely incorporate the flour into the butter, continue to stir for a couple of minutes. Do not let brown. Very slowly, add the milk to the mixture, little by little, whisking constantly. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the nutmeg, cumin, mustard, ginger, and some fresh ground black pepper. Lower the heat to low and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan.

6 After 15 minutes, remove the béchamel from the heat and stir in the cheese. Transfer the béchamel and the asparagus mixture to a large mixing bowl (if you have a mixing bowl with a pour lip on the side, use it, it will make it easier to pour out later). Taste the mixture and adjust the seasonings. The souffle base should be well-seasoned. Stir in the egg yolks until well combined.

At this point you can make ahead the souffle mixture. Refrigerate to store for up to two days. Return to room temperature before proceeding.

7 Preheat oven to 400°F.

8 Prepare to make a water bath (a bain marie). Have ready a 9x12 baking dish with at least 2 inch sides. Put on a kettle of water to boil.

asparagus-souffle-1.jpg asparagus-souffle-2.jpg

9 Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and using a mixer, beat the egg whites to firm but soft, almost stiff, peaks. (Make sure there are no traces of egg yolk or shell in your egg whites before starting.) Do not over-beat. Over-beating results in stiff peaks that are dry, somewhat reminiscent of styrofoam. Use a rubber spatula to first fold in one quarter of the beaten egg whites into the asparagus mixture, then the remaining three-quarters. Use a light touch to keep from deflating the egg whites.

asparagus-souffle-3.jpg

10 Fill ramekins with the mixture up to a quarter-inch from the top. If you want, sprinkle leftover bread crumbs on top. Place the ramekins in the bain marie baking dish. Place baking dish on the middle rack in the oven. Pour boiling water into the baking dish around the ramekins until the water comes up halfway the sides of the ramekins.

asparagus-souffle-4.jpg

11 Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F, reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for about 15 minutes more, until puffed up and golden brown. Don't open the oven door until the soufflé is just about done, or it may fall.

You can serve the soufflés immediately or you can serve them later. To proceed for serving them later, let the soufflés sit in the bain marie for 15 minutes. Then use run a sharp knife around the edges and invert the individual soufflés to a buttered baking sheet. Cool to room temperature, wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before re-baking. Heat oven to 400°F, bake the souffles on a buttered baking sheet, not in ramekins, for 7-8 minutes, and serve.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Links:

Brett's butternut squash pudding soufflés
Asparagus souffle from the Unemployed Cook
Roasted pepper, cheddar souffles from Alanna of A Veggie Venture
Basic cheese souffle from Kevin Weeks of Seriously Good
Asparagus and crab soufflé from Meredith the Blue Jeans Chef

asparagus-souffle-5.jpg

23 Comments

  1. Peter

    Elise, they look fabulous and sound delish…great elevation on the souffles!

  2. Sophie

    These look lovely, and the recipe is a bit of an unusual mix of spices and seasonings for asparagus. We’re still waiting for the first of the year over here in sunny England!

    I’ve got the new Jamie Oliver book (Jamie at Home) and in it he has a recipe for a rhubarb souffle. He’s used the same trick as you of having something with a bit of texture to coat the inside of the ramekin and help the souffle to rise. As it is a sweet recipe he used crushed ginger biscuits which I thought was a useful tip to pass on for anybody looking to use the ideas from this recipe but in a sweet recipe.

    Great idea, thanks! ~Elise

  3. barbara

    awww you had lunch with Brett – I’m so jealous. Happy Easter Elise.

  4. Patricia Scarpin

    Elise, I’ll bookmark this recipe. I have always wanted to try asparagus souffle but haven’t so far. Tks for sharing – they look so delicious!

  5. Julie

    This looks fantastic, and I really want to try it! But instead of six 8-ounce ramekins, I have eight 6-ounce glass Pyrex custard cups. Do you think they would work well enough? Or do you think the smaller size, and the glass vs ceramic, would cause problems?

  6. Kirsten

    Bookmarked! This looks so perfect for a holiday side or a light spring lunch with soup. I’m fiending for good asparagus, and this is the perfect new way to make it. Thanks.

  7. S

    These are freakin’ GORGEOUS! I wish I had the self-esteem to make souffles. But I don’t think I could deal with that hit to the cooking ego right now ; )

  8. jennbec

    When asparagus comes back into season here (just about a month away…can’t wait!) I will definitely give these a try. I am shy about souffles but with Bret’s and your advice, I’m feeling pretty prepared. : )

  9. katy

    Those are just stunning — perfect for a springtime brunch! I love making souffles, so I can add a few little tips too. If you’re looking for a more beginner-friendly souffle, try a simple dessert or cheese souffle — the lighter, airier ingredients are more forgiving than heavier vegetables.

    Also, you have about three minutes to serve (or photograph) the souffles once they come out of the oven, so if you’re having guests over, make sure they’re ready and move quickly!

    Finally (duh) NEVER open the oven to check on them — use an oven light if you have one or just hope that you’re recipe has a good measure of time. Once you open the oven door, the heat totally changes and even if you close it again right away, they’ll fall within a few minutes. So if you open the oven for any reason, your souffles are done.

    That being said, I’ve never used cake flour in a souffle before! that’s one I will definitely try.

    Great tips, thanks Katy! ~Elise

  10. merd

    Very nice combination of spices and herbs :D

  11. Tea

    Oooh, those were so good, I still think of them! Thanks for getting the recipe. I think that brunch will go down in my personal history as the best home brunch ever. Everything was so delicious. That Brett is a super talented guy:-)

  12. Tree

    YEAH! I’ve been looking for fun things to do with asparagus. These look amazing. Thanks for the detailed tutorial on soufflé!

  13. Kevin

    An asparagus souffle sounds really good and it looks great!

  14. Traci @ Soup of The Day

    They sure are pretty :)

    Thanks for the tips!

  15. Assia

    The mixture itself was so yummy…but of course they rose only a little bit, and fell flat quite quickly. You did warn that this recipe wasn’t for beginners – so it’s confirmed now I am one, despite my ambitions :( P.S. The bechamel came out top notch though!

    Hmm. It sounds as if you over-beat your egg whites. If they are too stiff, they don’t really rise that much in the oven. Sometimes I end up over-beating egg whites for a dish and have to through them out and start over again. Eggs can be so tricky. ~Elise

  16. Sylvie

    I have never attempted to make souffle yet, but those looks so good I might just have to conquer my fear and give it a go. I just love asparagus as well, so I bet they are delish.

  17. Jan

    This was wonderful! I didn’t have shallots, but green onions worked well. I didn’t have Gruyere, so used Asiago, to great results. I made this in smaller ramekins for a luncheon, & it made 16 generous (1/3 c) servings. I loved how this could be done ahead of time. I completed asparagus mixture the day before, then simply added beaten egg yolks and whites before baking. I will definitely make this again…perfect for lunch, brunch, or anytime. I think that even those who might not like asparagus would enjoy this. The addition of the spices was what really made it stand out. Truly one of the best recipes I’ve tried in a long time. Thank you!

  18. Kerrie

    Can anyone tell me what cake flour is? Is that like plain white flour? I’ve never seen anything called ‘cake flour’ on the supermarket shelves. Maybe it’s just some American product or something, is it? Also, I’d have to look to see if we have such a thing as ‘gruyere’ cheese. At least I’ve heard of Parmesan cheese! I’ll also have to make adjustment to this lbs & oz system – convert it to grams.

    Hi Kerrie – cake flour is a low protein flour that is often used in cake baking. Gruyere is a particularly delicious Swiss cheese. ~Elise

  19. Niamh

    Wow! They look beautiful. I must try them.

  20. Stephen McDaniel

    Great recipe. I make it with Provolone cheese though. I really don”t like Gruyere.

  21. Davida

    Made this tonight. I goofed so not perfect, but really really great.

    I always wondered about people who post questions to recipes (I mean, can’t you read the directions?), but now I have a question:

    What is the purpose of “Measure out 1 1/4 cup of purée” in step 3? Is that the portion that you use, or the portion that you don’t use? Do you mix it again later? It seems to me that you never refer to the separated puree again.

    I ended up mixing it back in and folding it in with the eggs. It was great and very asparagus-sy. Was this wrong? Is there something else to do?

    In step 6 it says, “Transfer the béchamel and the asparagus mixture to a large mixing bowl”. The purée is the asparagus mixture. ~Elise

  22. Andrea

    Hi Elise,

    let me just tell you that I recently got married, so started to cook a lot on my own (no mother or mother in law around). I cooked so many recipes from your website – you have to know that you are my right hand. (My husband’s favorites are the Creamy Asparagus Soup and Cream of Mushroom Soup.)

    I have tried this soufflé … absolutely delicious! I am still a very beginner in the kitchen, but this just turned out perfectly … beginners’ luck? :)

    Though, just a quick question: do you put anything on top of the soufflés before baking them? I have spread few bread crumbs, but they did not have this nice brown color that yours have ..

    Thank you so much again for all your postings.
    I visit your website every day.

    Hi Andrea – so glad you like the soufflé! I did not put anything on top of the soufflés before baking them. Perhaps they were on a higher rack in the oven? ~Elise

  23. Ansh

    I had a bunch of asparagus that I had no idea how to use. This recipe rocked! Thank you for sharing.

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong