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Local Attraction — Mother’s Day Souffle Recipe

Judith Dunbar Hines' recipe for Mother's Day soufflé. | Chandler West/For Sun-Times Media

Judith Dunbar Hines' recipe for a Mother's Day soufflé. | Chandler West/For Sun-Times Media

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Serves 4 to 6

1 pound asparagus

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

butter for ramekins

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup milk or chicken broth

3 eggs, separated

1⁄2 cup grated Swiss cheese

2 – 3 drops hot sauce

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1. Cut off top of asparagus tips at a length to match the depth of ramekins you will be using. Chop remaining spears into 1⁄4-inch pieces. In a pot of boiling water, blanch asparagus for 2 minutes, rinse under cold water and spread on linen towel to dry.

2. Separate eggs, placing whites into a large bowl. Set aside yolks.

3. Generously butter ramekins. Pat about 1 tablespoon Parmesan around the sides of each ramekin. Stand asparagus tips around the edges of the dish(es), pressing them into the cheese and butter.

4. Over medium heat in a heavy 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook, stirring, until mixture smells toast-y and is a light tan color. Stir in liquid and continue to cook and stir over medium low heat for several minutes until it begins to thicken. Off the heat, stir in egg yolks one at a time, then return to heat and cook and stir until sauce is thick. Stir in the Swiss cheese and season with hot sauce and salt. Stir in up to 1 cup of the chopped asparagus pieces.

5. Whip egg whites and fold into the sauce, then spoon carefully into the prepared ramekins. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes or until risen, tops are light golden brown and center is still just slightly soft. Serve immediately.

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Updated: May 12, 2014 12:13PM

In years of teaching people to cook, I have had wonderful kitchen experiences. The best is the beaming smile of a novice when something that seems difficult is revealed to be doable.

One of those moments can be yours, too. And when it happens, you want an appreciative audience. You want Mom’s approval!

Whether you are a Sunday-only cook, a genuine foodie, or the person in your family who can always be counted on for the grocery-supplied vegetable tray, making a souffle might seem like a daunting, I’ll-never-do-that experience.

But when it is broken down into small steps it is not only possible, but you will be lauded as the child who made her a very special Mother’s Day meal — with your own hands.

You simply have to make a sauce. Whip some egg whites. Combine and put them in the oven for 15 minutes, then smile knowingly when they emerge, top-hat browned, asparagus tips peaking around the edges.

Serve these at brunch with a fruit plate and muffins, or as a first course for dinner, followed by a baked salmon filet and an arugula salad. A chilled bottle of Prosecco makes it festive.

Then step back and accept the praise that will surely come your way for presenting Mom with a suitably impressive offering. She’ll be thrilled that she raised such a great cook!

LOCAL ATTRACTION features the best of regional produce and products and hopes home cooks will do the same. Judith Dunbar Hines is a cooking teacher, tour guide, writer and culinary consultant in Chicago. Visit

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