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“The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star,” wrote Brillat-Savarin in 1824.

Sheila Lukins, who passed away this weekend from brain cancer, discovered many new dishes and did so much for human happiness for countless home cooks. Her first cookbook, “The Silver Palate Cookbook,” contains many favorite recipes: aioli, carrot-orange soup, shrimp-cucumber soup, beet-roquefort-walnut salad, carrot-currant salad, and, of course, blueberry and raspberry vinaigrette dressings. Her style of cooking became so popular that we forgot she wrote the original recipes (pasta primavera, pasta with pesto, chicken with fruit sauces, warm brie in pastry, hummus).

If you want to cook a cookbook for a year, “Silver Palate” would be a delicious choice. Her recipes are accessible and tasty. Thank you, Sheila Lukins, for a wonderful repertoire of recipes. Here is a favorite recipe from her cookbook:

Asparagus-Parmesan Souffle

  • 2 cups one-inch pieces of asparagus
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper and freshly-ground nutmeg to taste
  • 5 egg whites

In a pot of boiling, salted water, blanch the asparagus until tender, about a minute, and then plunge into ice water. Drain and puree in a food processor.

Melt the butter and saute the onion on medium heat until clear, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook gently. Add the milk, bring to a boil, and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the egg yolks, asparagus puree, and half of the cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Butter a one-quart souffle dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Whip the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold into the asparagus mixture; do not overmix. Pour into the souffle dish and sprinkle the top with parmesan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until puffed and browned. Serve immediately.

2 Comments for “Fond Memories of The Silver Palate: Asparagus Souffle”  

  1. Emily

    This makes me so sad. The Silver Palate cookbook was one of the first I received when I moved out of my parent’s house. I always look there when cooking for friends.

  2. Marcia Block

    Over the years, I have made many recipes from The Silver Palate and loved them all. As I recall, the Post’s review of the book included “Linguine with Tomatoes and Basil.” We loved that recipe so much I bought the book the next day. I still make it almost every summer. My original book was in so many pieces that a few years ago I had to replace it.