Aubergine Souffles

An elegant and tasty first course, these individual Aubergine Souffles can also be served as an accompaniment to a main dish of meat, chicken or fish. The aubergine shells are not for eating in this dish because they may not be completely cooked by the time the souffles are ready.

2 aubergines

1 pint boiling water

5 tablespoon vinegar

1 ½ oz. fresh breadcrumbs

2 egg yolks, beaten

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 oz. grated cheese

½ teaspoon salt freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoon dried basil

2 egg whites

2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375°F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C).

Cut the aubergines in halves length-ways with a sharp knife. Scoop out the pulp, leaving a shell

½ inch thick. Set the shells aside.

Put the pulp into a medium-sized saucepan and cover with 1 pint of boiling water. Add the vinegar and simmer for 15 minutes or until the pulp is tender.

Drain the pulp and put it in a large bowl. With a fork mash it.to a puree. Add the fresh breadcrumbs, egg yolks, melted butter, grated cheese, salt, 4 grindings of black pepper and the dried basil. Mix well. If the mixture is too stiff add a spoonful of the cooking liquid.

Beat the egg whites in a small bowl with a whisk until they are stiff. Fold them into the aubergine mixture.

Fill the aubergine shells with the mixture. Sprinkle the dried breadcrumbs over the top, dot with small pieces of butter and place in an ovenproof dish. Put the dish in a large baking pan which has a little water in it and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve immediately.

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