No-fail Individual Breakfast Soufflés

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I’ll admit it: I LOVE it when my “guests” (family, yacht owners, charter guests) ooh and ah when I serve a meal. Putting on five star meals day after day is definitely a challenge, so I love it when I find something that gets the raves, but isn’t half as hard for me to put together as the finished product appears.

This is one of those dishes. I especially appreciate that it’s a breakfast/brunch thing…I mean, it’s hard enough making all these things come together when you’ve been cooking all day already, but mornings…sometimes there just isn’t enough caffeine in the system yet for all cylinders to be firing, you know what I mean? Depending on my morning, if it’s crazy because we are raising anchor and getting underway at first light, I can have just about ALL this prepped the night before and just assembled and baked in the morning.

Just say the word “soufflé” and it conjures up images of fancy white dishes, paper collar that never seems to stick, egg whites carefully folded into the egg yolk mixture so you maximize the ‘poof’ and then…saints forbid! SOMEONE OPENS THE OVEN DOOR and it all falls about itself like yesterday’s leftover pancake.

No, no no…this won’t do that. In fact, the ingredients and prep are more like making a fancy-looking omelette than that crazy-making soufflé concoction. You just have to have small 1-cup ramekins on hand which these days you can get just about anywhere. And, when you aren’t making this fabulous breakfast, you can use the dishes to hold all your ingredients for your mise en place. They are super handy.

Be sure you spray the insides of the ramekins really well, particularly if you want to serve the soufflé out of the ramekin. This egg stuff will stick if you don’t treat it properly. Not as bad as my molten lava cakes, but that’s another story for another time!

As I was saying, after spraying the ramekins, you add your flavor ingredients…this recipe I’ve given you calls for diced ham, bell peppers, green onions, a little chopped spinach and cheese. But, the beauty of this dish is that you can use really just about anything you want to customize your soufflé: cooked and crumbled sausage or bacon, sautéed mushrooms (wild or cultivated), crab, lobster(!), green chiles…I mean, the list is endless.

Once you have your flavor ingredients in, just top them with a well-whisked mixture of eggs and half-and-half. If you want, you can jazz this up, too, with herbs (fresh or dried), grated parmesan cheese, etc. Your filled ramekins go into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake until they are puffed and golden.

You can serve them directly in the ramekin on a plate if you like. I would recommend putting small cocktail napkin underneath to keep the ramekin from sliding around on (or off!) the plate. And, you can use that to set off the dish, as you can see in my picture. I had a great little napkin that had blues and greens and summer sunflowers on it, and it was a perfect prop for a summer brunch on the water.

One warning: these little babies are HOT, so do take the time to let them cool a bit as the recipe recommends before serving it to your guests. Even then, let them know that they will still likely be hot, so beware…but, who wants cold eggs anyway, right?

So, next time you’re looking for something to generate a few oohs and ahs, even first thing in the morning, give this a shot. You will be amazed at how easy this is, and how much your diners will enjoy the incredible creation you are serving them!

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Individual Breakfast Souffles

The perfect main dish for that special brunch or breakfast. Don't let the name intimidate you: these souffles are no-fail and can be tailored to a variety of tastes and preferences.
Course: Breakfast
Keyword: breakfast main dish, brunch entree, customizable breakfast eggs, easy souffle, eggs, eggs made to order, elegant but easy, omelet, omelette, souffle, upscale egg dish
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Corinne Gregory Sharpe

Equipment

  • 4 1-cup ramekins

Ingredients

  • 9 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • a few drops hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mixed red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • chopped chives and additional diced bell pepper for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray ramekins with non-stick cooking spray or spray oil. Place dishes on a parchment lined baking sheet or sheet tray (to keep ramekins from slipping).
  • Divide the diced ham, green onions, spinach leaves, bell peppers and cheese among the four ramekins.
  • In a medium sized bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce, if using.
  • Pour the egg mixture equally into the four ramekins. Egg mixture should come just about to the top of each ramekin. If you find yourself short on egg mixture, simply whisk another egg or two with a little half-and-half and top off ramekins.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until eggs are set. Remove from oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Souffled eggs can be served directly in their ramekins, or, if you prefer, you can unmold them before placing on a plate. To unmold, run a small butter knife around the edges of the ramekin, then, holding ramekin with a dish towel, invert souffle onto a small dish before inverting and arranging on the serving plate.
  • Sprinkle each souffle with chopped chives and extra bell pepper for garnish, as desired.

Notes

NOTE: One of the great things about this dish is that it is a great template recipe for a lot of different variations.  For example, if you are in a Southwestern mood, use bacon instead of the ham (or in addition to), chopped fire-roasted green chiles, even black beans as your filling. Cooked, crumbled sausage is a nice option.  Make it vegetarian and throw in some sauteed mushrooms (drain any liquid from the mushrooms before adding to the ramekins). Broccoli, zucchini…shrimp or crab…anything you can envision in an omelette can be used to customize your dish.

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