Asparagus Soufflé

Light and fluffy asparagus souffle recipe. Pureed asparagus mixed with bechamel and egg yolks, beaten egg whites folded it, baked to puffy golden deliciousness.

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

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 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 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely ground dry breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons 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 the asparagus: Blanch the asparagus for 2 minutes in boiling salted water (1 1/2 teaspoons of salt for every quart of water). Drain. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Set aside to let cool.

2 Cook the shallots, garlic, thyme in butter: Melt 1 tablespoon of 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 shallots: Purée asparagus and shallot together in a blender. Measure out 1 1/4 cup of purée.

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

5 Make a thick béchamel sauce: Over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons 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.

After 15 minutes, remove the béchamel from the heat and stir in the cheese.

6 Make the soufflé base: Combine the béchamel and the asparagus mixture in 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 soufflé base should be well-seasoned.

Stir in the egg yolks until well combined.

At this point you can make ahead the soufflé 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.

9 Beat the egg whites: Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and using a very clean 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.

beat egg whites for souffle

10 Fold egg whites into asparagus mixture: 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.

fold egg whites into asparagus mixture

11 Fill ramekins, place in bain marie: Fill ramekins with the mixture up to a quarter-inch from the top. If you want, sprinkle leftover breadcrumbs 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 in ramekins about to go into oven

12 Bake: 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.

asparagus souffle in a water bath in oven

Make ahead instructions: 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 soufflés on a buttered baking sheet, not in ramekins, for 7-8 minutes, and serve.

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Comments

  • Bee

    Mmm I love everything about this dish!! Plus the asparagus are so good this time of year so I definitely need to make this!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Gaie

    I don’t eat cheese…will it work without… what do you recommend?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Gaie! Emma here, managing editor. Yes, this recipe should work just fine without cheese. If you have some nutritional yeast, I’d add a tablespoon of that for cheesy flavor, but I think the souffle will still be tasty without. Enjoy!

  • Ansh

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

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • 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.

    • Elise Bauer

      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?

  • 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?

    xxxxxyyyyy

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Davida, you only use 1 1/4 cup of the purée in the recipe.

  • Stephen McDaniel

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

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • 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.

    • Elise Bauer

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

  • 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!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • 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!

    • Elise Bauer

      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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Julie, those should still work, though you may need to reduce the cooking time just a little given that you are working with 6 ounce cups versus 8 ounce cups. Glass versus ceramic should make no difference.