Carrot Souffle Bundles - Serves 4

The following is a different spin on the lowly carrot. Most people use carrots in salads or maybe cook them as a side dish. This is a different way to serve carrots using a method for soufflés. We like to serve this on the side with a roasted Herbed Cornish hen or baked Greek Chicken.

Carrot Souffle Bundles
6 large carrots, peeled, cut into small pieces and cooked until soft
3 egg whites
½ cup Crème Fraiche
2 cloves garlic – minced fine
½ Sweet Onion – minced fine
Olive oil
Sea salt and cracked white muntock peppercorns **
1 head Romaine Lettuce - Blanched and shocked and dried

Cardamom Orange Glaze
1 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons Green Cardamom Pods – crushed
Sea salt and cracked white muntock peppercorns
1 large bunch parsley stems – roughly chopped (reserve the leaves for garnish)

Pecan Oil or Hazelnut Oil for serving
Crushed pecans or hazelnuts for serving

Make the carrot soufflé base: Drain the carrots (reserve ¼ cup cooking water). Place carrots into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth (add some of the cooking water if necessary). Add the crème Fraiche and egg whites and process until smooth. Cook the garlic and onion in a small amount of olive oil or butter until just cooked (approximately 5 minutes) add this to the carrot mixture. Season with salt and white pepper, set aside.

Oil 4 six-ounce ramekins and place a large piece of shocked and blanched lettuce into the cup allowing the extra to fold over the edge. (The extra will be folded over the top of the ramekin to enclose the carrot mixture). If the lettuce has ribs that are too rigid, cut out the ribs and fold the lettuce onto itself to close the gap. Fill the lettuce-lined cup to the top of the ramekin with the carrot mixture, and then fold over the lettuce to enclose the mixture. Bake in a water bath at 350F for approximately 30-40 minutes. The carrot mixture will rise a bit in the cup. You should be able to stick a wooden skewer into the soufflé and it will come out clean when cooked.

Make the Orange Cardamom Glaze: While the carrot bundles are baking, place the orange juice, crushed cardamom, parsley stems, sea salt and pepper into a pan and reduce by more than ½. Drain and reserve the liquid discarding the herbs, cardamom and pepper.

When cooked, turn out the carrot bundle from the ramekin onto a plate, drizzle with the orange-cardamom glaze and drizzle with pecan oil and garnish with crushed pecans. Serve while still hot.

** About the White Muntock Pepper:
In the hills behind the village of Muntock, on the Indonesian island of Bangka pepper farmers climb traditional bamboo tripods and hand-pick fruit spikes of red ripe pepper berries. The fruit spikes are packed into rice sacks and soaked in a slow running stream of water that come down off the mountains above. 7 days later the outermost skin of the pepper has disintegrated and the peppercorns are piled together for a traditional trampling called “nari mereca” or the Pepper Dance. The dancing separates the peppercorns from the fruit spike and after a final washing the berries are left to dry in the sun where they will bleach to a whitish-cream.