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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Today's Found Recipe asks this question: Why do so many people fear the souffle? Maybe it's because of this scene in the 1954 film "Sabrina." You know, the one with the demanding French chef.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "SABRINA")

MARCEL HILLAIRE: (As The Professor) The souffle, it must be gay. Gay like two butterflies dancing the waltz in the summer breeze.

CORNISH: OK.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "SABRINA")

HILLAIRE: (As The Professor) To the ovens.

CORNISH: Sabrina is one among a dozen students trying to master this intimidating dish.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "SABRINA")

HILLAIRE: (As The Professor) Too low. Too pale. Too high. You are exaggerating. Fair. So-so. Sloppy.

CORNISH: And who wants a sloppy souffle?

GREG PATENT: A souffle will fall if it knows you're afraid of it.

CORNISH: That's Greg Patent, co-host of Montana Public Radio's "The Food Guys," and he's quoting the noted American chef James Beard. Patent is an expert at souffles and says, despite their reputation, they're not that difficult.

PATENT: If you've ever made a mousse or you've ever made a sponge cake or you've made a meringue, you can make a souffle. There's absolutely no difference.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PATENT: A souffle is a light, airy mixture of a very flavorful base with egg whites folded into it and then baked. And it rises entirely due to the air that you beat into the egg whites and fold into the very flavorful base. And it can be a savory creation and it can also be a dessert.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE FRENCH CHEF")

JULIA CHILD: And then three egg yolks and six egg whites.

PATENT: I first got interested in souffles watching Julia Child on her original, black and white "French Chef" series. I recall her making a cheese souffle that she called a non-collapsible cheese souffle.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE FRENCH CHEF")

CHILD: See, that's the beauty of this souffle. You're the complete boss of it at every inch of the way.

PATENT: What it was was a regular cheese souffle, but it had extra egg whites folded into it. And when she took it out of the oven, indeed, it did not collapse. It held its shape. And that gave me the confidence to try a souffle for the very first time. And it rose so high, it actually hit the electric element at the top of my stove. I thought, look, this is so much fun. And I just got hooked on it and I started doing all kinds of souffles.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PATENT: This recipe that I want to tell you about came about as I was wondering through my farmers market in Missoula, Montana. I saw wonderful ears of fresh corn. I saw jalapeno peppers. And I thought, what if I put those ingredients together and made an American souffle out of a French technique? And so, I came up with a corn souffle recipe that I just think is one of the best things I've ever eaten.

The souffle is bursting with sweetness from the corn, fresh corn kernels. You know, out of season, you can certainly use frozen corn kernels. You sautee them very quickly, add a little bit of olive oil with some garlic and onion, and then you add diced red bell peppers and finely chopped cilantro. Set it aside while you make your bechamel base, which is a white sauce. And then you will stir your vegetables right into the bechamel. Fold the egg whites carefully into your bechamel base. Let it bake for about 35 minutes and, voila, the air cells expand, the souffles rise. You'll gush with ooh's and aah's yourself. And if you're going to serve it to company, just the accolades that you're going to get are going to make you want to run into the kitchen and make another one.

CORNISH: That's Greg Patent, author of "The French Cook-Souffles." You can get instruction for his corn souffle on our Found Recipe page at npr.org.

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