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Smoked Mackerel Souffle

Although the souffle was originally a French speciality it made an impact on English cooking in the mid-19th century when cheese souffle became a spectacular and popular party piece.

ingredients

serves 4
200 ml (7 fl oz) fresh milk
a few onion and carrot slices
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
30 ml (2 tbsp) plain flour
25 g (1 oz) butter
salt and pepper
75 g (3 oz) cooked smoked mackerel, skinned, boned and finely flaked
4 eggs, separated
1 extra egg white

method

1. Grease a 1.3 litre {2 1/4 pint) souffle dish.

2. Put the milk in a medium saucepan with the onion and carrot slices, bay leaf and peppercorns. Slowly bring to the boil, remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the milk.

3. Put the flour, butter and reserved milk in a medium saucepan. Heat, whisking continuously, until the sauce thickens, boils and is smooth. Simmer for 1 - 2 minutes. Season to taste. Leave to cool slightly.

4. Beat the yolks into the cooled sauce, 1 at a time. Sprinkle the fish over the sauce. (At this stage the mixture can be left to stand for several hours if necessary.)

5. Stir in the fish until evenly blended. Whisk the egg whites until stiff.

6. Mix one large spoonful of egg white into the sauce to lighten its texture. Gently pour the sauce over the remaining egg whites and cut and fold the ingredients together. Do not overmix; fold lightly, using a metal spoon or plastic spatula, until the egg whites are just incorporated.

7. Pour the souffle mixture gently into the prepared dish. The mixture should come about three-quarters up the side of the dish. Smooth the surface of the souffle.

8. Place the souffle on a baking sheet and bake at 180°C (350°F) mark 4 for about 30 minutes. It should be golden brown on the top, well risen and just firm to the touch with a hint of softness in the centre.

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