Essential Pepin NPR coverage of Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pepin. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
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Essential Pepin

More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food

by Jacques Pepin

Hardcover, 685 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, List Price: $40 |


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Essential Pepin
More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food
Jacques Pepin

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Chef Jacques Pepin Selects His 'Essential' Favorites

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Essential Pepin

Tomato Chowder
with Mollet Eggs and Croutons
Serves 4

A French favorite, mollet (moll-ay) eggs are similar to poached eggs in texture, with runny yolks and soft whites. The eggs are cooked in their shells in barely boiling water for about 6 minutes, then thoroughly cooled and carefully shelled. This basic tomato soup, topped with the eggs and large croutons made from country-style bread, can be made vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock or water.

 2  tablespoons olive oil
 1  medium onion, coarsely chopped
(1 1/4 cups)
 6  scallions, trimmed (leaving some green) and chopped (3/4 cup)
 1  carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
(1/2 cup)
 3  garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
 2  tablespoons all-purpose flour
 3  cups homemade chicken stock
(page 612) or low-salt canned
chicken broth
 12  ounces cherry tomatoes
 1  teaspoon salt, or to taste
 1/2  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1  teaspoon dried thyme
 1/4  teaspoon dried sage
 1  28-ounce can plum tomatoes
 4   slices country-style bread, preferably stale, for croutons
 2  teaspoons olive oil
 1  small garlic clove
 4  large eggs
 1/4   cup grated Gruyère or Emmenthaler cheese

 Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel saucepan. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the onion, scallions, carrot, and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top of the mixture, stir thoroughly, and cook for 1 minute longer, stirring. Mix in the stock.
 Add the cherry tomatoes to the soup, along with the salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. Process the can of plum tomatoes for 5 seconds, and add to the soup. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes.
 Using a hand blender, blend the soup for 15 to 20 seconds (or process in a food processor and return to the pan).

MEANWHILE, PREPARE THE GARNISHES: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
 Brush the bread slices with the olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until nicely browned. Rub one side of the croutons with the garlic clove, and set them aside.
 Using a thumbtack or pushpin, make a hole in the rounded end of each egg. Gently lower the eggs into a pan containing enough boiling water to cover them and cook for about 6 minutes in barely boiling water. Drain the hot water from the pan and shake the pan to crack the shells of the eggs on all sides. Fill the pan with ice and water and set the eggs aside to cool completely.
 When the eggs are cool, peel them carefully (so as not to damage the yolks, which are still runny) under cool running water. Keep the eggs in cold water until just before serving. (The eggs can be cooked up to a few hours ahead and refrigerated in the cold water.)
 At serving time, drain the cold water from the eggs and replace it with hot tap water. Let stand for 5 minutes, so the eggs are lukewarm inside.
 Bring the soup to a strong boil, and ladle it into four bowls. Place an egg in the center of each bowl, and wait for a couple of minutes for the eggs to warm in the center. Place a crouton in each bowl and serve, sprinkled with the cheese.

Grilled Veal Chops
with Caper and Sage Sauce
Serves 4

This is a good summer recipe. I sear the chops briefly on a very hot grill and then transfer them to a warm oven, where they continue to cook slowly in their own residual heat. The sauce, a simple mixture of onion, capers, lemon juice, and olive oil, is made separately and the chops are coated with it before they are served.
 Be sure you don’t overcook the chops. Although veal is not served rare, as beef is, it should be slightly pink inside and juicy throughout.
 Chicken or even a piece of fish also goes well with the caper and sage sauce.

 4  veal rib chops trimmed of excess fat (about 10 ounces each), and 1 inch thick
 1  teaspoon canola oil
 1/4  teaspoon salt
 1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 1/2  cup diced (1/4-inch) red onion
 2  tablespoons drained capers
 1  tablespoon minced fresh sage
 2  teaspoons julienned lemon zest
 1  tablespoon fresh lemon juice
 2  tablespoons olive oil
 2  tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
 1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1/4  teaspoon salt, or to taste
 2  tablespoons homemade chicken
stock (page 612) or low-salt canned chicken broth

 Heat a grill until it is very hot. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
 Rub the chops with the oil and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper. Put the chops on the clean grill rack and cook for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Transfer them to the oven and let them rest and finish cooking for at least 10 minutes (the chops can be kept in the oven for up to 30 minutes).

MEANWHILE FOR THE SAUCE: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
 At serving time, place a chop on each of four plates and coat with the sauce.

Iced Grand Marnier Soufflé
Serves 6 to 8

Iced soufflés are not real soufflés that cook and inflate in the oven, but look-alike frozen desserts. A collar of aluminum foil or parchment paper 3 to 4 inches higher than the rim of the soufflé dish is attached to the dish, so the mixture can be molded higher than the sides. When the collar is removed, the soufflé looks as though it has just emerged from the oven. It’s a perfect dessert for a party, and it must be made ahead. After the soufflé is prepared and its collar secured, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil so it doesn’t pick up tastes from the freezer.

 1  cup sugar
 1/3  cup water
 1  tablespoon grated orange rind
 6  large egg yolks
 1/2  cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
 2 1/2  cups heavy cream
 6-8  ladyfingers or the same amount of sliced génoise or pound cake
 1  tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

 Combine the sugar, water, and orange rind in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and boil for 3 to 4 minutes, until it turns into a light syrup.
 Meanwhile, put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer.
 While beating at high speed, pour the hot syrup in a steady stream over the yolks and continue beating for 12 to 15 minutes. The mixture should be thick, smooth, and pale yellow. Add 1/4 cup of the Grand Marnier or Cointreau and beat for another 30 seconds on high speed.
 Whip the cream in a large bowl to a soft peak. With a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the soufflé mixture. Cover the bottom of a 1-quart soufflé dish with a thick layer of the mixture (about 2 inches thick). Arrange the ladyfingers or cake slices on top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Grand Marnier. Fill the mold right to the top with the cream mixture; refrigerate the remainder.
 Using a doubled long sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper, make a collar around the mold, extending 2 to 3 inches above the rim, and tie securely with a string. Place the mold in the freezer for 1 hour, or until it is firm.
 When the frozen soufflé mixture is firm, add the remainder of the mixture, which should bring the soufflé to at least 2 inches above the rim of the mold. Return to the freezer until frozen.
 Transfer the soufflé to the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.
 Just before serving, sprinkle the top with the cocoa. Remove the collar and serve.