Recipe invented by Brian Mailman, edited by Leila
This is a wonderful soufflé made with roasted eggplant, garlic and tahini sauce, hence the name - an inspired combination of French and Arab cuisines. Brian Mailman is a professional chef and moderator of rec.food.cuisine.jewish I met years ago through rec.food.cooking (RFC) potluck gatherings. Brian credits a back issue of Food and Wine for giving him the idea.
1 small eggplant (about 3/4 pound), trimmed and sliced crosswise into 3/8-1/2" thick slices
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium head of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves, root end cut
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. flour
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cumin
3 tbsp. tahini
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup grated parmesan (about 3/4 ounce)
2 tbsp. more grated parmesan.
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1. Spread the eggplant slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for at least a half hour to draw out the bitter juices.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry, then transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush with 2 tbsp. of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. The second iteration of this I added no salt.
Toss the garlic cloves with the remaining 1 tbsp. oil and wrap loosely in foil.
Roast the eggplant and garlic for about 30 minutes, until both are softened and golden. Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 400:F.
3. Bring the milk just to a boil in a small saucepan; keep warm. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderately high heat until foaming but not colored, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the milk. Bring the sauce to a boil over moderately high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened. Add parmesan and whisk until melted in. Turn down heat and let simmer to rid sauce of floury taste. Add pinch of nutmeg. Add cumin. Add tahini. Season with salt, pepper, to taste. I didn't add any salt here, either, since parmesan is naturally salty. Remove from heat.
4. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins. Since the root end is cut, allyaneedtado is squeeze the tip to make the good stuff come out. In a food processor, combine the garlic, eggplant and white sauce and puree until smooth. Add the egg yolks. Make sure the puree is lukewarm, at most and process until smooth. It won't be. Don't mind about that. I liked the roasty skin bits.
5. Butter 1-1/2 quart soufflé dish thoroughly. I melt the butter in the dish in the microwave and roll the dish around to coat, then wipe it with a paper towel just to make square.
6. Beat the egg whites to a firm peak. Fold in 1/4 amount of whites into eggplant mixture, then fold the mixture into the remaining "base".
7. Spoon the soufflé mixture into the prepared dish and smooth the surface. Run your thumb around the inside edge of the dish. Make a dent about a half-inch deep.
Bake the soufflé in the lower third of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until puffed, nicely browned and set around the edges.
Leila's note: Soufflés can be baked in almost any sort of dish, including shallow baking dishes normally used for gratins. You won't get the same loft but it will puff, and it will still taste fabulous.