It was too hot to go shopping today. Besides, I took my mother out for a walk , I'm beat and I'm conserving my energy for the coming week's "vacation", which I took to paint the apartment, and (ugh) go to the dentist.
But I want a little treat for supper , and I also want to play with (and show off) my little green ramekins. There are 8 of them, and they match, and I am very tickled about this. Formerly, if I served lttle custards, or mousses or anything, they appeared in an odd assortment of not-quite-ramekins: small bowls, mugs, one proper le creuset "flame" custard cup and the like. So I feel quite elegant with my matching lime colored 6oz babies. The refrigerator is fairly bare, since I haven't replenished after my work trip last week. I want to wait to shop until Wednesday, which is farmbox day, so I can see what I have and won't buy duplicates of anything. Anyhow, I want something that feels a bit dainty, to offset my general sweatiness, what with prepainting prep, and all that.
My search of the pared down fridge revealed a 6oz vacuum packed foil sack of "claw" crabmeat, not yet approaching its stamped expiration date. There were also eggs, milk and butter. I had picked up the crab with just such an occasion in mind, although I had not actually considered what I was going to make with it. Obviously, anything seriously showcasing the crab might be a letdown. But hey, if I had beautiful freshly picked crabmeat, I'd make a really simple salad, or plainish crabcakes, and let it speak for itself.
So I settled upon this recipe, clipped, I believe, from an old Food and Wine magazine, judging from the typeface, etc. It caught my eye, as I rummaged, because of the lemon thyme, which is growing exuberently in a pot on my porch stairs. I also thought it would be nice to do a small souffle, to show off my new little dishes. It is adapted to make four 6 oz. starter or lunch servings, rather than six, as in the original. If you want to have this for a supper, which would be very nice on a hot day, it would serve 2, in 8 oz ramekins, should you have some.
This is what you do:
Separate 4 eggs, putting 2 yolks in a cup, the 4 whites in your clean mixer bowl, and 2 yolks in the fridge.
Melt 2 Tbsps of butter in a small saucepan, and whisk in 2 tbsps flour. Whisking away, slowly add 2/3 cup of milk. When it is combined and thick and smooth, remove from heat. Add the 2 yolks from the cup, and whisk it up with a pinch of sea salt. If it is not thick, put it back on a low heat, and whisk away until it is. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cool.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange your ramekins in a roasting pan, or some pan with reasonably high sides (i.e. not a cookie sheet). Fold 6 oz of crabmeat into the cooled souffle base, along with a dash of tabasco type sauce. This last is not in the recipe, but you want it, believe me. Beat your (now room temperature) egg whites until they hold a firm peak. Stir about 1/3 of the egg whites into the base mix to lighten it. Then gently fold in the rest. Fill the ramekins to within 1/4 " of the top. Wipe rims with damp cloth. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up the ramekins. Bake about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve at once for maximal prettiness. If you like, you can serve these each with a small pitcher of melted butter mixed with a squirt of lemon or lime, smoked spanish paprika and minced parsley or lemon thyme. If you are having it for supper, it would be nice to have a crusty bread and a plain tomato and basil salad along with your souffle.
I hope you have not forgotten the 2 egg yolks still in the fridge. Does the responsibility for these stranded, lonely yolks weigh heavily upon you? Better make a two crust fruit pie, so you can brush the top with a yolk glaze. Nectarine/blueberry would be seasonal and tasty. It's my favorite american style pie. I'd do it myself, but I've got all this painting to do.