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Monday, February 25, 2013

Simple broccoli, artichoke and bechamel souffle

I love vegetable souffles covered in the delicious white sauce that made me fall in love with the French cuisine. I believe the bechamel could make anything underneath it delicious no matter how unappealing it would initially be - which is not the case here, as both the broccoli and the artichokes are lovely.

But what is truly spectacular about the sauce here - and makes me very proud to have concocted it - is the addition of a generous helping of Pickled mustard seeds (which we always have around) that transform it in a crunchy and flavorful masterpiece. The pickled mustard is so easy to make that you should always have a jar around to add to almost anything. You're going to love it even if, like me, you don't really like the classic mustard paste! :)

Last year: Pickled lemons (Moroccan preserved lemons).
Two years ago: Black olive dip (Tapenade) and Concentrated orange juice caramel.

Ingredients (serves 3):
  • 3 broccoli floret pieces (each as wide as the bowl for each serving)
  • 60 g salted butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 400-500 ml milk
  • 4 tablespoons pickled mustard seeds
  • 9 artichoke hearts from the can

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Boil the broccoli pieces for 3-4 minutes in salted water (previously brought to a boil). Put them under running cold water, then drain them and put them in 3 heatproof bowls, whole as they are:

To make the bechamel you need to stir continuously in a frying pan. First mix the butter and flour in it with the extra salt until bubbly and golden:

Then pour a little of the milk at a time, stirring, and continue pouring until you've incorporated it all into a creamy bliss. Remove from the heat. Season at the end with the nutmeg and mix in the pickled mustard seeds.
Cut the artichoke hearts in halves and arrange them in the bowls next to the broccoli:

Pour the bechamel on top of them and put them in the oven:

Bake for 15 minutes and it's done. Remove from the oven, allow to cool a bit and serve while it's still warm. Dig in! :)

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