Simple, country French dishes in Pepin's family cookbook
Everyday Cooking with Jacques Pepin (New York: Harper & Row. $19.95 hard-cover, $10.95 paperback) is a small cookbook full of simple, well-cooked, unpretentious French country recipes from the author's family kitchen.
This is a more casual, homey approach than the one used in his more professional and very successful cookbooks,''La Methode'' and ''La Technique.'' Now he has written about food that is relatively quick to prepare, economical, and satisfying - featuring some recipes from his mother's kitchen and his own growing-up memories.
Jacques Pepin is regarded generally as one of the wonders of the culinary world, for by the time he was 22, he had been personal chef to three French presidents, including Charles de Gaulle.
He refused an invitation to cook for John F. Kennedy in the White House, because he thought it was not enough of a challenge; and he had a tour of duty in the kitchen of the legendary New York restaurant Le Pavillon.
But he is best known for his teaching in cooking schools across the United States and for his two outstanding cookbooks. So his new cookbook is different; it is aimed at the busy home cook who wants to be economical.
The recipes are from Pepin's PBS-TV show, which will be aired this fall and promises to be successful, for Pepin has great charm and personality along with his culinary skills. Advice in the cookbook is direct, down-to-earth, and helpful.
''Always start with the task that takes the longest, even though it might seem the most trivial part of the recipes,'' he suggests.
''Save clean-up time by laying out newspapers when you peel and clean vegetables so you can toss them out all at once.''
There are good tips about the wrapping of partially used ingredients, freshening stale bread crumbs, creating a lumpless sauce, gauging the strength of garlic, boning chicken, and working butter in dough.
Stuffed breast of lamb; crepes souffles; gratin of pasta with vegetables, meatless or using leftovers, are some of the dishes.
A specialty is a crunchy oatmeal pan bread cooked in a skillet and flavored with onion and parsley.
A peach gratine recipe is both fast and easy, with instructions for arranging the sliced peaches in a circular pattern in an oven-proof dish, then adding brown sugar, a custard, and a sprinkling of almonds before baking in the oven.
An inexpensive dish is Eggs Jeanette, made of hard-cooked eggs, yolks seasoned with garlic; parsley; and bits of leftovers such as shellfish, spinach, or mushrooms.
The halves are stuffed, then browned in butter and oil in a skillet, and served with crusty French bread.
''The Eggs Jeanette I've named after my mother, who served them to us often when my brothers and I were small,'' Pepin says.
''It is my hope that they will be part of your repertoire, used week after week, year after year, becoming associated with your own cuisine - that another generation will be naming these dishes after you.''
Eggs Jeannette is usually served lukewarm or at room temperature as a first course for dinner, but it is equally appropriate as a brunch, lunch, buffet, or picnic dish. Eggs Jeannette 6 hard-boiled eggs 2 tablespoons milk 2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and chopped fine 2 tablespoons chopped parsley 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon oil 1 tablespoon butter
Cut eggs in half crosswise at the widest point. Remove yolks and push through a food mill or mash by hand, bu' do not use a food processor, which would make the yolks gummy and rubbery.
Mix sieved yolks with milk, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. The mixture should be moist and hold together. Restuff whites with yolk mixture, leaving approximately 2 tablespoons for the sauce.
Heat oil and butter in a skillet, preferably the nonstick type. When oil and butter are hot and foaming, place the egg halves, stuffed-side down, in skillet. Fry at medium heat for about 2 minutes. They will brown beautifully on the stuffed side. Remove and arrange over sauce in a platter. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature with crusty French bread. Serves 6. Egg Sauce: 2 tablespoons leftover egg-yolk mixture 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon water Dash of salt Dash of freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup vegetable oil
The 2 tablespoons leftover egg-yolk mixture add texture to the dressing, which can be used like any thin, mustardy mayonnaise. Substitute the yolk of 1 boiled egg for the egg-yolk mixture.
Place the first 6 ingredients in the food processor, and, with motor on, add oil slowly. Pour sauce into a serving platter and arrange egg halves on top.