If you can make a good béchamel sauce and beat egg whites, it is a breeze. A roulade is basically a flat soufflé rolled up with tasty ingredients. So, while you’ve learned how to make a roulade you’ll also be able to produce a first class soufflé. The procedure is identical; only the method of cooking varies.There are a few simple rules to follow when making a béchamel. Cook the roux (butter and flour) for half a minute until it smells slightly nutty and of sweet grain. Use a whisk to incorporate the milk into the roux, adding a small amount at first to make a thick, lump free paste and then blending in the rest. You can cook the sauce over quite high heat as long as you keep on whisking. For a roulade or soufflé, egg yolks and cheese are added off the heat and then the egg whites are folded in. Feeling like some exercise, I decided to hand whisk the egg whites in my beautiful copper bowl. Why a copper bowl? Copper ions migrate from the bowl into the egg whites making the proteins more stable. That means that you can’t overbeat egg whites in a copper bowl and the rough texture of the surface seems to help build the egg white foam faster. I only got a little bit of exercise though – a friend was so entranced by the sight of the miraculous transformation of the egg whites that he wanted to have a go. His effort was impressive – very thick and glossy egg whites in a flash. You can of course use a hand held rotary beater or electric beater but be careful that you don’t go too far and make lumpy meringue.As to the filling, other ingredients work. A combination of diced ham, chopped roasted pepper and mayonnaise is nice. Whipped cream cheese and herbs with the ocean trout would also be good.
For the roulade:60g salted butter2 heaped tbsp plain flour500ml milk3 eggs, separatedtwo-thirds cup grated Parmesan or Grana cheesesaltfreshly ground nutmeg.Preheat oven to 190C. In a medium saucepan melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook the roux, stirring, for about half a minute. Off the heat whisk in the milk, a little at first and then add the rest. Place the saucepan back on the stove and keep whisking until it comes to a simmer and thickens. You should have a thick sauce. If it is stiff, add a little more milk. Whisk in the cheese and egg yolks. Add salt and nutmeg and taste. Adjust seasoning. The roulade needs to be tasty so please don’t pull back on salt.Whisk the egg whites until they are thick and glossy. With a large, metal spoon, fold a heaped spoonful into the béchamel to ‘slacken’ it and then carefully fold in the rest. Pour into a flat tray (with short sides) lined with baking paper. Smooth out gently to make a rough rectangle. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until it is nicely browned and slightly bouncy to touch. Turn down heat if the roulade is browning too fast.Cool slightly and then invert the roulade onto another tray lined with fresh baking paper. Leave to cool a little more before filling.
For the filling:baby rocket leaves, any stems removedslices tomatoslices smoked ocean trout, or salmonLeave the roulade on the tray with the paper underneath. Spread the surface with rocket leaves. Cover with the tomato slices – you can have gaps. Lay slices of ocean trout or salmon over the top. Using the paper to help you, roll up the roulade from the short end. Let sit on its seam for a few minutes before slicing.Serve with mayonnaise mixed with shredded basil and Dijon mustard.