3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup flour
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 serrano pepper, halved, seeded, finely chopped
1 bunch chives, snipped
7 medium egg yolks
9 medium egg whites
8 ounces Gruyere (Deans' favorite) or cheddar, coarsely shredded or
Goat Cheese, about 2 cups, crumbled
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Butter a 2-quart souffle dish with the 1 tablespoon softened butter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan inside the dish.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour to make a roux, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. (Use a flat whisk if you own one, made especially to get into the corners of the pan.) Stirring constantly, slowly add the milk, and bring to a low boil. Whisk for 2 minutes until the sauce is thick. Remove from the heat; season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in the egg yolks and stir in the shredded or crumbled cheese.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt at medium-high speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, fold one quarter of the whites into the yolk base until no streaks remain. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites, being careful not to over blend. A few white streaks are not a problem.
5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish. Smooth the surface with an offset spatula and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan on top.
6. Bake in the bottom third of the oven until golden brown and puffed, about 35 minutes. We prefer a soft interior. Serve at once with a tart green salad. The most elegant lunch or dinner on the planet.