This recipe has been on my to do list for quite some time, but it always just seems to get passed over. So finally in the middle of winter way past zucchini's shining hour in the Summer garden, I get it accomplished (better late than never). It comes from Richard Olney's book "Simple French Food", and it is a lovely little thing. Richard, in his beautiful prose recommends it as "a prelude to an amicable chunk of rare meat".
They are just twice baked souffles, but they must be baked in individual molds or a ring mold, not the traditional souffle pan. After the souffle is baked and collapsed, and cooled, it is unmolded, brushed with some cream, dusted with parmesan, and placed back in the oven for 20 minutes, until the souffles rise slightly again and brown nicely. I baked them the second time on top of a tomato sauce. They possess a delicate and fresh zucchini flavor.
1 pound small zucchini
Grate the zucchini and salt liberally, place it in a colander and let the excess water in the zucchini drain for 1/2 hour. Press all the liquid out of the zuchinni and rinse, tie the zucchini into a clean tea towel and continue to wring out all of the excess moisture.
Make the Bechamel
2 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
3/4 cup milk
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
3 eggs, separated
Butter, to grease the molds
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan and stir in the flour. Stir cook for 3 to 4 minutes, the flour should not brown. Add the milk and continue to cook until the sauce is thick and bubbling. Let the bechamel cool slightly and fold in the zucchini and egg yolks. Taste and correct the seasonings.
Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form, stir 1/3 of the whipped whites into the bechamel mixture to lighten the batter, fold in the remaining whites.
Bake in a bain marie in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Let the souffles cool slightly and unmold.
Pour some tomato sauce into the bottom of an oven proof pan and place the souffles on top of the sauce.
Brush the souffles with heavy cream and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place the pan in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the sauce is hot, and the souffles are puffed and browned.