Real French Muenster (available at specialty foods stores) will make a big difference in this soufflé. What to drink: A dry white wine with plenty of perfume, like Gewürztraminer.
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup 1/3-inch cubes rindless French Muenster cheese (about 4 ounces)
Red Bell Pepper and Tomato Salad >see below
Bring milk just to simmer in small saucepan; remove from heat. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook roux 2 minutes, whisking constantly (do not brown). Gradually whisk in warm milk. Cook until sauce is smooth and thick enough to drop from whisk in thin ribbon, whisking constantly, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cumin and season generously with salt and pepper; transfer to medium bowl.
Cool 10 minutes. (Soufflé base can be made ahead. Press plastic wrap onto surface.
Let stand 2 hours or chill 1 day.
Bring to room temperature before using.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 4- to 5-cup soufflé dish; coat inside with panko.
Whisk egg yolks into soufflé base 1 at a time; stir in cheese cubes.
Beat egg whites and pinch of salt in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry.
Fold egg whites into soufflé base in 3 additions; transfer to prepared dish.
Bake soufflé until puffed, brown on top, and firm but jiggly to touch, about 28 minutes.
Spoon soufflé onto 4 plates.
Arrange salad alongside and serve.
To cube soft Muenster cheese, pare off the rind, then cut cheese into 1/3-inch slices.
Freeze slices 15 minutes to firm, then cut into small cubes. Separate cubes on plate and chill.
*Available at some supermarkets and at Asian markets.
Makes 4 servings.
RED BELL PEPPER AND TOMATO SALAD
24 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved1/2 cup
1/4-inch cubes red bell pepper1/3 cup
1/4-inch cubes drained roasted red pepper from jar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Pinch of ground cumin
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Season salad with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally.)