In praise of light and lovely roulade

This is a blast from the past. I remember eating versions of this way back in the '80s — it was all the rage. I loved it then and still do.

Roulades and souffles seem to have gone out of fashion and I wonder why — they are so good.

I have never been a fan of the souffle which must be served the minute it's risen and ready but the twice-baked variety, which gives the cook more leeway in terms of serving, is a wondrous thing.

A roulade is really a Swiss roll souffle.  I make this a day in advance and serve it at room temperature. Think of this as a recipe for a simple cheese sauce, with the egg yolks and the frothy beaten egg whites stirred into the sauce and briefly baked — not difficult at all.

This is the very essence of spring. A light and lovely herb-flecked souffle roll, wrapped around a creamy, intensely flavoured smoked salmon filling — rich and smoky. Elegant but comforting too, it has great depth of flavour and I think  it is rapturously good.

Serve as a starter to accompany pre-dinner drinks or for lunch or a light dinner.


Photo: Linda Robertson
Photo: Linda Robertson
Green herb roulade with smoked salmon 

SERVES 4-5 - for lunch or a light dinner

50g butter
50g standard flour
3/4 tsp dry mustard powder
pinch cayenne pepper
300ml blue top milk, warm
100g Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbsp each finely chopped flat leaf parsley and mint leaves
4 large eggs (size 7), separated
salt to taste

300g smoked salmon pieces, patted dry with paper towels
3/4 cup sour cream (I used light)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

To finish
2 tsp melted butter,
2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs

Preheat the oven to 200degC.

Swiss roll tins do vary a little in size. As long as the measurement of your tin is similar that will be OK. Line a 20cm x 30cm Swiss roll tin with non-stick baking paper. I spray the inside of the tin with oil first to ensure the paper fits snugly and stays in place.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan. Stir in the flour, mustard powder and cayenne pepper and cook over gentle heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.

Gradually stir in the milk and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add mint and parsley and stir in.

Allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir yolks into  the sauce thoroughly and taste for seasoning. Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. When you lift the beaters the whites should stand up in peaks.

Tip half of the whites on top of the cooked cheese sauce and using a metal spoon fold the whites through the sauce.

Add remaining egg whites and continue folding and mixing gently to keep as much air in as possible. The souffle mixture should look spongy and frothy.

Transfer to the prepared tin and spread evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 14-17 minutes until puffed and golden and the centre is set. It should feel firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and stand for 2-3 minutes, then cover with a tea towel and leave to cool completely.

Remove the tea towel and place it on the bench. Flip the roulade over and out of the tin on to the tea towel. Peel off the lining paper.  Roll up from the long side, rolling the tea towel in with the the roulade. This will hold for up to 2 days covered in the fridge.

An hour or two before serving remove the roulade from the fridge to allow it to come to room temperature.

To make the filling:
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse on and off until combined. I like it to be a bit chunky. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary.

Gently unroll the roulade. Try not to flatten it out completely as it can crack (if it does crack, don't worry as it won't show).

Fill the roulade with the smoked salmon filling and roll up. Transfer the roulade to a serving platter. Brush the top of the roll very lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with chopped herbs.

Slice and serve with a salad and a crusty bread.

Cuts into 16 slices.

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