A twice-cooked souffle is a technical masterpiece, involving a base of béchamel sauce mixed gently with stiff eggwhites and cooked until the mixture rises and just sets. For the second cook, the souffle magically rises again in all its glory.
This is a signature at Montrachet. The twice-baked crab soufflé is served with a prawn and crab bisque sauce and finished with a cheesy gratinated crown.
- 40 g butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
- 50 g (⅓ cup) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 320 ml milk, warmed
- 120 g Comté, finely grated, plus extra to serve
- 4 egg yolks
- 5 eggwhites
- 200 g cooked picked crabmeat, well drained (see Note)
- finely chopped chives, to serve
- 1 small (200 g) cooked blue swimmer crab
- 300 g raw (green) tiger prawns, peeled and shells reserved
- 300 g white-flesh fish fillet (see Note)
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 750 ml water
- 100 ml Pastis
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 200 g canned chopped tomatoes
- 10 g butter
- 10 g (about 3 tsp) plain flour
- 125 ml (½ cup) thickened cream
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time: 1-1½ hours
Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Butter and lightly flour six 180 ml-capacity ovenproof ramekins.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add the flour and stir continuously until pale and combined (1-2 minutes).
Add 80 ml (⅓ cup) milk, stirring continuously until thick and smooth (30 seconds-1 minute), then add the remaining milk in 3 batches, stirring well between additions until smooth.
Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, then egg yolks and crabmeat, and season to taste.
Whisk the eggwhites in an electric mixer to stiff peaks (3-5 minutes), fold into the crab mixture in 3 batches, then divide among ramekins.
Place in a deep roasting pan lined with paper towels. Fill pan with hot water to halfway up sides of ramekins and bake until light golden and an inserted skewer withdraws clean (35-45 minutes).
Remove ramekins from water bath and set aside to cool (1-1½ hours), then turn soufflés out onto a tray lined with baking paper, cover and, if time allows, refrigerate to chill (this makes them less likely to crack).
For the bisque, clean the crab, removing it’s back shell and gills and discard. Reserve the top shell and crack the crab legs. Combine with the prawn shells and fish bones (if using). Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then sauté one-third each of the onion and garlic until translucent (3-5 minutes). Add crab legs, shells and bones, stir until shells turn deep red (3-4 minutes), then add 750 ml water and simmer until well flavoured (25-30 minutes). Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil, onion and garlic in a separate saucepan over medium heat and sauté until translucent (3-5 minutes). Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the Pastis and saffron and reduce by a third (2-3 minutes).
Add the seafood, tomatoes and 750 ml strained bisque stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
Blend with a hand-held blender, then pass through a fine sieve, pushing to extract all the liquid.
Return to the pan, bring to the boil and cook until reduced by half (20-25 minutes).
Mix butter and flour in a bowl until smooth (to form a beurre manié), add to the pan and whisk to combine, then add the cream and simmer until slightly thickened (8-10 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Place soufflés in ovenproof bowls or gratin dishes and bake until puffed and light golden (8-10 minutes). Pour 80 ml (⅓ cup) bisque around each soufflé, top with the extra cheese and return to the oven until soufflés are golden brown and bisque is hot (4-5 minutes). Scatter with chives and serve.
• You will need about 6 blue swimmer crabs to get 200 g crabmeat.
• I like to use a white-flesh fish such as bream or sweet lips. If you are buying a whole fish to fillet, reserve the bones for the bisque stock.
Shannon Kellam is the head chef at Montrachet. This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.
This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.