- Unsalted butter, for rubbing
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for coating
- 4 ears of corn, shucked
- 1/4 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch strips
- 1 cup milk
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 cups shredded Comté cheese (6 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 6 large egg whites
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously butter a 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish and coat it with the Parmesan. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add salt and the corn and boil over high heat just until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the bacon over high heat for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to moderate and cook until browned, about 5 minutes longer.
- Using tongs, transfer the corn to a plate. Drain off the water and return the saucepan to the stove. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs; you should have 2 1/2 cups. Put 2 cups of the kernels in the saucepan and add the milk. Simmer over moderate heat until the milk has reduced by one-third, about 5 minutes. Transfer the corn and milk to a blender and puree until very smooth. Scrape the puree into a large bowl and stir in the bacon and the remaining 1/2 cup of corn kernels. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir in the egg yolks, Comté and thyme. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature.
- In a large stainless steel bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt at high speed until they hold firm peaks. Stir one-third of the whites into the corn base to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whites until just blended. Scrape the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish and bake for 45 minutes, or until nicely browned and slightly jiggly in the center. Serve right away.
A fruity, moderately oaked Chardonnay from France's Burgundy region will complement the dish beautifully.