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Egg Soufflé with Asparagus Tips, Iberico Ham, and Cream
Egg Soufflé with Asparagus Tips, Iberico Ham, and Cream

Uni Foam Technique

Technique: Egg Soufflé with Asparagus Tips, Iberico Ham, and Cream
Chef Raphael Peña of Gresca—Barcelona, Spain
August 2009

Innovative technique predominates in Chef Raphael Peña’s Barcelona kitchen. Chef Peña’s method is to amplify, concentrate, and counterpoise the elemental aspects of ordinary ingredients with thoughtful, exacting preparation. In Peña’s hands, humble ingredients like asparagus, sardines, and pigeon, the proverbial ‘rat of the sky,’ confidently take center stage. Chef Peña showcases this method in his preparation of a single egg, ‘souffléed sous vide’, atop a bed of diced vegetables, Iberico ham and cream.

An exaggerated emphasis on the contrasting textures of the egg makes Chef Peña’s souffléed egg dish an arresting reinterpretation of a casually encountered ingredient. Preparing the whipped egg white sous vide creates a pillowy, cloudlike texture that is weighted only by the succulence of the thick, runny egg yolk inside. At the backdrop of this sensory interplay is the crunch of diced asparagus and fennel, which adds an herbal, grassy contrast to the smoky sweetness of Iberico ham and the richness of the potatoes and cream.

Egg Soufflé on
Egg Soufflé on
Egg Soufflé on
Egg Soufflé on
Egg Soufflé on
Egg Soufflé on
Egg Soufflé on
Egg Soufflé on
Egg Soufflé on
Egg Soufflé on
Egg Soufflé on
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Step 1: Cut a folded, double-thick sheet of plastic wrap the size of writing paper and use it to line a biscuit-sized metal ring, with the center of the plastic wrap on the bottom of the ring and equal lengths hanging over the side.
Step 2: Separate egg yolk from white and set aside. Whisk egg white to stiff peaks.
Step 3: Spoon most of the egg white into the lined metal ring, leaving a small depression on top.
Step 4: Put the yolk in this depression in the egg white and cover it with the remaining egg white so the yolk is entirely invisible.
Step 5: Gather the overhanging plastic wrap and twist at top to form a ball. Secure the ball with a long tie of stretched plastic wrap to avoid disturbing the egg yolk. Allow extra length on plastic wrap tie.
Step 6: Using plastic wrap tie, tie secured egg ball to a heavy metal object that can be safely submerged in water.
Step 7: Place egg ball with tie side down in pot, using metal to weight it down.
Step 8: Cook egg sous vide in a 70°C water bath for 19 minutes.
Step 9: Remove egg from plastic wrap and put on parchment-lined baking sheet, tie side up. Bake for 4 minutes at 200°C.
Step 10: Remove egg from oven. White should be browned on the ridges and yolk will still be runny. Serve atop diced asparagus, zucchini, potatoes, fennel, asparagus tips, bacon, Iberico ham and cream.

Egg Soufflé with Asparagus, Iberico Ham and Cream
Chef Raphael Peña of Gresca—Barcelona, Spain
Adapted by
August 2009
Yield: 1 Serving


Egg Soufflé:  
1 egg, separated

2½ tablespoons chopped Iberico ham
2½ tablespoons diced asparagus
1½ tablespoons diced zucchini
1 tablespoon diced par-boiled potato
1 tablespoon diced fennel
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Assemble and Serve:
5 garlic flowers


For the Egg Soufflé:
Set up a sous vide bath for the egg by heating three to four inches of water to 70° C. Meanwhile, beat the egg white to stiff peaks. Spoon ¾ of the egg white into a plastic-lined ring mold (such as a biscuit cutter) leaving a slight depression on top. Carefully put the egg yolk in this depression. Cover the egg yolk with the remaining egg white. Pull the plastic wrap from around the ring mold, gather at the top and twist. Using a separate extra long piece of plastic wrap roped into a long tie, secure the plastic wrapped egg to form a ball. Be careful not to disturb the position of the egg white. Tie the egg ball to a heavy metal object that can be submerged in water. Put the egg ball, tie side down, in the hot water and let it cook at constant temperature for 19 minutes. Remove the egg from its bath and plastic wrap and place, tie side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 4 minutes in a 200° C oven until the top of the egg is gently browned.

For the Vegetables:
Render the ham in a heavy saucepan until crisp. Add theasparagus, zucchini, potato, and fennel and sautée gently until slightly browned but still tender. Season with salt and pepper. Turn heat to low, add cream and stir gently for one minute to coat vegetables. Remove from the heat.

To Assemble and Serve:
Make a small mound of cream-coated ham and vegetables in the center of a bowl. Gently top with the egg soufflé. Garnish with garlic blossoms and serve immediately.

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  Published: August 2009