Beki Lamb's Wild Nettle Souffle





We source our wild nettles from Piha. They can sting before they're cooked so rubber gloves can come in handy.

Ingredients

Prep time 35 mins, cook 45 mins
60 g unsalted butter, coarsely chopped, plus extra for greasing
60g plain flour, sieved, plus extra for dusting
400 ml milk
1 small fresh bay leaf, pinch of finely grated nutmeg
160g cooked and chopped nettles (nb: they sting when they are uncooked)
100g Gruyere, finely grated
5 eggs, separated, plus 3 extra eggwhites

Method

Preheat oven on 180C. Butter and flour eight 200ml ramekins, refrigerate until required.
Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add flour and stir occasionally until smooth (2-3 minutes)
Meanwhile melt milk, bay leaf and nutmeg in a small saucepan, season to taste and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Remove from heat, strain through a fine sieve and gradually add to flour mixture. Whisk over low heat until smooth and thick (10-15 mins). Remove from heat, stir through 60g Gruyere and cooked Nettles. Cool slightly, then stir through yolks one at a time until incorporated. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Whisk eggwhites until starting to foam (2 minutes) add a pinch of fine sea salt and whisk until soft peaks form (2-3 minutes). Add a quarter of the eggwhite to cheese mixture and stir to combine then gently fold through remaining eggwhite in batches. Divide mixture among ramekins, smooth tops, transfer to a baking dish, pour enough hot water to come halfway up sides of ramekins and bake until golden and risen (12-15 minutes). (you can prepare this step ahead and refrigerate soufflés until required. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
Turn out soufflés into eight ovenproof serving dishes, scatter over remaining Gruyere, season to taste and bake until golden and puffed (8-10 minutes).