zucchini an squash blossoms souffles

prep time:  tbd
cook time:  tbd
servings:  6 - 8

4 tablespoons unsalted butter + more for greasing ramekins
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
2 pounds small fresh zucchini - coarsely grated
4 large eggs - separated
1 small green serrano chile - finely chopped
4 ounces gruyere cheese - grated
1 tablespoon finely cut chives
2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil
6 - 8 squash blossoms - tough part removed, torn into 1/2-inch stips

1.  butter ramekins well and set aside.  heat oven to 400 degrees.  melt 4 tablespoons butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  stir in flour and cook together over medium heat for a few minutes, without browning.  slowly add milk, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.  add thyme sprig and bay leaf and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes, whisking occasionally, and adding a little more milk if the sauce gets too thick.  remove and discard thyme sprig and bay leaf.  season sauce well with salt and pepper, then add cayenne and nutmeg.  remove from stove and let cool slightly.

2.  sprinkle grated zucchini with 1 teaspoon salt and mix well.  put zucchini in a colander and let drain for 15 minutes.  working with on handful at a time, squeeze out excess liquid from zucchini. discard liquid or use for another purpose.

3.  pour egg yolks into bechamel sauce and beat until smooth.  add zucchini, chopped chile and grate cheese and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula.  add a bit more salt and pepper, then add chives, basil and squash blossoms.  mix to distribute.

4.  in a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.  stir 1/4 of the beaten whites into the zucchini mixture to lighten it, then carefully fold in remaining whites.  quickly spoon  souffle batter int ramekins.  place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  lower heat to 350 and rotate baking tray.  bak and additional 10 - 15 minutes, until tops are nicely browned and small knife inserted emerges dry.  serve immediately.

- new york times, july 2014

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