When I plan a dinner for friends with sophisticated palates decidedly fond of the king of crustaceans, I dust this recipe out of my treasure trove of time-tested dishes bearing my signature twists and fusions to serve as a winning appetizer for five, for the complex depth of flavours embedded within this soufflé’s deceptively light texture requires sacrificing the life of only one small fresh lobster!
1 X 600g lobster, steamed for 10 minutes till its whole shell turns red, cooled, cleaned, and meat removed and chopped
70g 36-months-aged Cheddar cheese, grated
35g salted butter
25g plain flour
225 ml milk
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp fennel seeds, ground down in a spice mill
Generous pinch of chilli powder
2 dried lemon myrtle leaves, stalks removed and ground down in a spice mill
2 anchovy fillets, removed from their olive oiled tin and finely minced
½ large lemon, juiced
5 eggs, yolks and whites separated
Cracked black pepper
Extra salted butter, softened
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1.75 l boiling hot water
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and stir in the flour till a smooth paste forms.
- Keeping the saucepan heated, gradually stir in the milk till the sauce thickens.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the paprika, fennel seeds, chilli, lemon myrtle, anchovies and Cheddar cheese.
- Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.
- Stir in the lobster meat and lemon juice; seasoning to taste.
- Preheat the fan forced oven to 1800C.
- Whisk the egg whites till they form stiff peaks when you lift out the whisk.
- Gently fold the whisked egg whites thoroughly into the lobster mixture, 1 ladle at a time; making sure to retain as much air in the whites as possible.
- Use the extra butter to generously grease the base and sides of 5 ramekins, and evenly coat over by generously sprinkling with Parmesan cheese.
- Place the ramekins into a roasting tray.
- Evenly spoon the soufflé mixture into the ramekins.
- Pour hot water into the roasting tray until the water level sits 2/3 of the way up the outsides of the ramekins; bathing them in a water bath.
- Place the roasting tray into the oven for 30 minutes, until the soufflés are well risen and nicely brown.
- Serve immediately.