A soufflé, done well, is never a bad thing.
A delightful pair
Restaurants are always adding dishes to their menus, a special here and there for a week at a time, or as the growing seasons dictate. (At the end of 2012, I had a stage at Spring, in Paris, and the chef there, Daniel Rose, was known to change the menu daily.) Recently, Tony Vallone shared with me something that went on the menu at Tony’s this week, and it’s a great addition.
It’s an asparagus soufflé, and though the Richmond Avenue dining mecca has for years been known for making (among many other things) a mean soufflé, this one features asparagus and a wonderful sauce, a combination I find myself craving a few times a day.
It comes to the table in a ramekin, swaddled in a cloth napkin. You’ll notice that it looks like a perfect soufflé; if you touch it it will quiver slightly. And the color! A delicious light brown, and a verdant green, the former from the baking process, the latter from the asparagus, which in this soufflé is abundant and prepared with skill. It retains its bright and vibrant hue — I will guess that the kitchen’s blanching skills are exemplary — and a refreshing bite. Soufflés can be very rich, but the asparagus in this one provides flavorful lightness, and complements that richness.
But wait. Don’t eat yet. About 10 seconds after the soufflé is placed on your table, another waiter will arrive, small saucepan in hand. In it is the finishing touch to your course. It’s a sauce made of Cambozola and prosecco, with a touch of Parmigiano-Reggiano. And it’s warm and decadent and possesses the right amount of salt (thanks to the Reggiano). You’ll watch the waiter spoon the sauce into and over the soufflé, and it will be a beautiful thing to behold. The steam will rise when the waiter cuts the spoon through the top of the soufflé, and the flavors will mingle and you will grow impatient.
The wait is nearly over. Take a sip of your Sancerre. Now, it’s done. Enjoy.