Divas: Easy, elegant meal on a budget

How do you serve a salmon entree to four people for under $5 total? Make salmon soufflé.

Soufflé makes a tastefully classy lunch, dinner or late supper. Fluffy, moist eggs rising heavenward past the rim of the baking dish, blended with salmon and a touch of dill. This is cheap eats at its finest. The closest eggs can get to being Queen for a Day.

Soufflés have a reputation for being difficult but that’s undeserved. If you follow instructions, it works every time. If you can whip egg whites and make a white or béchamel sauce, you can totally make soufflé.

Diva Tips – Have everything gathered, measured and ready before you start. When you beat the egg whites, make sure your bowl and beaters are impeccably clean with no traces of oil or yolk. Either will prevent the whites from forming bubbles and attaining full volume.

EASY SALMON SOUFFLE

Yield: 4 servings Time: 1-hour total

What You’ll Need:

3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon butter

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon green onion – thinly sliced

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 (14.75 ounce) can salmon – flaked – bones and dark skin removed

4 eggs – separated – at room temperature

Here’s How:

Butter a baking dish (7 ½ to 8 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep) with one teaspoon butter. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Place oven racks in the bottom third of the oven, preheat oven to 400°F.

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add the onions and sauté until softened. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk constantly as you add milk, salt, pepper and dill. Switch to a wooden spoon, stir and simmer until very thick. Remove from heat, add the salmon and let cool a minute. Add the yolks, one at a time, combine and set aside. This is your base.

With a stand or hand mixer beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Using a spatula, fold one-third of your whites into the base to lighten the mixture.

Gently fold the rest of the whites into the base until just combined. Don’t overmix or you’ll deflate your soufflé.

Pour into prepared baking dish. Place soufflé in the oven and turn the temperature down to 375°F.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t peek! Don’t open the oven door until at least 35 minutes have passed. To test for doneness, insert a bamboo skewer or a piece of dry spaghetti. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Serve immediately. The soufflé will begin to deflate in about 3 minutes, so have the camera ready.

To serve; plunge two serving spoons, back to back, into the center of the soufflé and pull the crust apart. Divide into four servings.

Suggested sides: a green salad, sautéed asparagus and a baguette. Wine pairings – Champagne or sparkling wine, chardonnay, dry rose, or sauvignon blanc.

As you bring this cloud-like perfection to the table you say; “Oh, this little ole thing? I made this just for you because I’m a DIVA!”

Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! NEW website and blog – www.divasonadime.com

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