Lobster Soufflé with Sauce Nantua
Chef Michel Bourdin reminded us, "Always remember that the guest has to wait for the soufflé, but the soufflé can't wait for the guest."
FOR THE SAUCE NANTUA:
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups hot milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup crustacean butter
Meat from 1 1-1.2-lb. boiled Maine lobster, cut into 1'' pieces
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
FOR THE SOUFFLÉ:
7 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1/3 cup flour
1 cup hot milk
1/2 cup grated gruyère cheese
Freshly ground white pepper
1. For the sauce Nantua: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in hot milk, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 7 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the cream and simmer, stirring, until reduced by one-quarter, about 6 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup cream and crustacean butter, stirring until melted. Add lobster meat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and keep warm over very low heat.
2. For the soufflé: Preheat oven to 475º. Butter four 8-oz. soufflé dishes with 1 tbsp. of the butter, evenly coat insides with 1 tbsp. of the grated parmigiano, and refrigerate. Poach 4 of the eggs in a medium skillet of simmering salted water over medium heat for 3 minutes. Transfer eggs with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, then set aside.
3. Melt remaining 6 tbsp. of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually add hot milk, whisking until smooth and thick, 2–3 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Separate remaining 4 eggs, setting whites aside in a large mixing bowl. Whisk yolks into hot flour–milk mixture 1 at a time. Add gruyère, stirring until melted. Season to taste with cayenne, salt, and pepper. Transfer soufflé base to a large bowl. Working quickly, whisk reserved whites until they hold stiff peaks, then gently fold into soufflé base along with remaining parmigiano.
4. Spoon 1/3 cup of soufflé mixture into each dish. Add poached egg and 2 tbsp. of sauce Nantua with lobster to each. Spoon remaining soufflé mixture on top. Bake for 5 minutes, reduce heat to 400º, and bake until puffed and browned, about 10 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce.