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Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen

Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen

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Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen

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Oct 6, 2015


In the companion book to his final PBS series, the world-renowned chef shows his close relationship to the land and sea as he cooks for close friends and family.

Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen is an intimate look at the celebrity chef and the food he cooks at home with family and friends—200 recipes in all. There are the simple dinners Jacques prepares for his wife, like the world’s best burgers (the secret is ground brisket). There are elegant dinners for small gatherings, with tantalizing starters like Camembert cheese with a pistachio crust and desserts like little foolproof chocolate soufflés. And there are the dishes for backyard parties, including grilled chicken tenderloin in an Argentinean chimichurri sauce.
Spiced with reminiscences and stories, this book reveals the unorthodox philosophy of the man who taught millions how to cook, revealing his frank views on molecular gastronomy, the locovore movement, Julia Child and James Beard, on how to raise a child who will eat almost anything, and much, much more.  For both longtime fans of Jacques and those who are discovering him for the first time, this is a must-have cookbook.
Oct 6, 2015

Sobre el autor

The winner of sixteen James Beard Awards and author of twenty-nine cookbooks, including A Grandfather’s Lessons, Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen, and Essential Pépin, JACQUES PÉPIN has starred in twelve acclaimed PBS cooking series. He was awarded France’s highest distinction, the Legion of Honor.  

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Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen - Jacques Pépin

Copyright © 2015 by Jacques Pépin

Paintings © 2015 by Jacques Pépin

Photographs copyright © 2015 by Tom Hopkins Studio

All rights reserved

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to trade.permissions@hmhco.com or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data available upon request.



(paper over board);

978-0-544-30226-6 (ebook)

Book design by Endpaper Studio


To my mother, Jeannette, who taught me how to live and how to cook, and to my beautiful granddaughter, Shorey, who loves to cook, eat, and share and will carry on the family traditions.


The making of Heart & Soul, the book and the companion PBS TV series, was a complicated process that required the combined efforts of many, many good people and took several years. I always count on my wife, Gloria, for advice and ideas and, of course, Norma Galehouse, my longtime assistant. She has worked on two dozen books with me, and I continue to rely on her to make something readable out of the notes I give her. Thanks, also, to Doe Coover, my agent, who was very involved in the production of the book; to Rux Martin, my editor, for her confidence, enthusiasm, and guidance; and to Barry Estabrook, for looking at many of my notes and editing and polishing my writing. I am most grateful, too, for the very thorough copyediting of Judith Sutton, who improved the book greatly. I am indebted to Tom Hopkins for his friendship and the great photographs he took—not only of the food in the book, but also of the artwork I have included. Thanks, too, to Rich Kosenski, who worked with Tom on this project.

I want to thank Jean-Claude Szurdak, my best friend, who spent a great amount of time helping me—going to the market, helping me prepare the food, and then organizing it for the photography sessions. I want also to thank Claudine, my daughter, as well as Rollie Wesen, her husband and my son-in-law, for assisting me with the preparation of some of the dishes.

The television series based on this book is the thirteenth of my series filmed at KQED, the PBS station in San Francisco, over the last twenty-eight years. I want to thank my friends at the station, especially John Boland, the president of KQED and a great supporter, and Michael Isip, the station’s Chief Content Officer and series executive producer, whose guidance, confidence, and friendship I rely on. I also want to thank Laureen Chang, who raised money for the series; DeLinda Mrowka, for her work on series promotion and advertisements; and Janet Lim Young, our capable liaison in marketing and client services. And thanks to Wendy Goodfriend, the very talented person in charge of KQED’s website, for all her hard work.

In the back kitchen during the filming were, as always, my friends Jean-Claude, David Shalleck, and Michael Pleiss. In addition, I’m grateful to the incredible kitchen staff, Richard Ju and Kelly Gladstone and assistants Kim Kaechele, Carrie Dove, and Hubert Garcia. They not only were competent, but were always happy and smiling.

More than anyone else, I want to thank Tina Salter, my producer of many, many years, for her dedication, professionalism, passion, humor, and kindness, and Christine Swett, her assistant, for her talent and commitment. Thanks, too, to June Ouellette, who did a great job as associate producer. A heartfelt thank-you to Paul Swensen, our director, who replaced our dear departed friend Bruce Franchini. Paul did a great job and was very patient with me, and I thank him for his technical knowledge and endurance.

Thanks again to my friend Jean-Claude, for appearing on several of the shows with me, and thanks to Claudine; to Shorey, my granddaughter; and to Rollie, for being with me on the series too. I also want to give a big thank-you to the technical crew and cameramen for their efficient and skilled work.

Finally, to everyone involved in the book and the series, your cooperation, dedication, and hard work made me look good and I am grateful for that.



Hors d’Oeuvres

Soups and Salads

Eggs, Cheese, and Bread

Fish and Seafood

Poultry and Meat

Organ Meats

Rice and Pasta


Fruit Desserts and Preserves

Cakes, Cookies, Custards, and Chocolate


Producer’s Acknowledgments



Think of this book as an invitation to come over to my house for a meal. Like most gatherings here, it will be accompanied by plenty of interesting conversation about food (French people like to talk about food almost as much as they enjoy eating it), spiced with reminiscences, stories, perhaps a little gossip, and, of course, generous pourings of wine.

Most of the two dozen cookbooks I have written over the past four decades have had specific themes: fast cooking, French cooking, economical cooking, healthy cooking. . . . For this book, mindful that as I approach the age of eighty I have a limited number of cookbooks in my future, I decided to gather a collection of the recipes that I cook at home today.

You’ll find the dishes I prepare for quiet evenings when my wife, Gloria, and I are alone. Many of these recipes are also ideal when we have small gatherings of family or friends. I’ve included some true standbys that I rely on when guests drop by on the spur of the moment. And then there are the festive dishes that I set out when we have large gatherings, particularly in the summer, when dozens of hungry and thirsty folks descend upon our place for afternoons and evenings of spirited boules matches on our backyard court. Although the recipes in this book typically serve four or six, almost all of them can be expanded to accommodate bigger groups. In all cases, the recipes are for the food I love to eat and enjoy with those dearest to me. They represent my culinary heart and soul.

The first requirement for anything I serve at my house is that it taste good. No compromises! I don’t want people to come away from my table feeling that they have had some sort of culinary experience. I just want them to say to themselves, This was really good. I also prepare food with as little fuss as possible, not the least because I want to be able to enjoy the wine, food, and companionship myself.

Creation in the kitchen, for me, means constantly improving the familiar, tweaking and whittling my recipes over the years in a never-ending process of making them better and reducing complication until I arrive at their essential qualities. The result is really tasty food that I (and you) can make as quickly and easily as possible.

Pleasant dining also requires interesting conversation. I have included snippets of text throughout the book drawn from conversations that have taken place in my kitchen. More than one guest has looked shocked when I’ve pulled a fistful of wilted lettuce or a plastic bag of dry, cracked hunks of miscellaneous cheeses out of the fridge, until I assure her that—trust me—they will become the base of a terrific dish. Someone’s comment about the vast array of knives in the block on my counter might inspire a discussion about what to look for in a good knife or a philosophical pronouncement about the value of a sharp knife. Knowing that I favor straightforward fare, where you can recognize exactly what you are eating, friends sometimes nonchalantly solicit my opinion on molecular cuisine and probably get more of an earful than they anticipated. And the gallery of photographs on our hallway wall provokes questions about what it was like to cook with James Beard, Julia Child, and other greats.

If you came to lunch here at the height of summer, I might serve you stuffed tomatoes, a dish in the repertoire of every French cook. My zesty take (see recipe) calls for hollowed-out large, just-ripe tomatoes filled with a mixture of mushrooms, zucchini, onion, garlic, parsley, jalapeño peppers, and hot Italian sausage. The tomatoes can be stuffed well ahead of time and then popped in the oven before the guests arrive and chat over glasses of chilled rosé. If tomatoes aren’t in their prime, I might throw the best hamburgers I make (see recipe) on the grill; the secret is ground brisket. In haste, I may assemble a pizza of mushrooms and Gruyère cheese on store-bought flour tortillas (see recipe)—a tasty treat involving minimal time and almost no effort. And there are always eggs from the nearby farm in our fridge, ready to be deployed not only for breakfasts, but also as my secret lunch weapons in dishes like an herbed shrimp omelet (see recipe) or eggs cooked in halved and hollowed-out poblano peppers with cheddar cheese and cilantro (see recipe).

Predinner appetizers must be simple and full-flavored, but not filling; they should titillate the appetite, not satisfy it. I might serve a nice raw-milk French Camembert moistened with honey and covered with ground pistachios (see recipe). My pantry is never without canned cannellini beans, which I often pour into the food processor, along with garlic, cumin, and Tabasco sauce, for a quick, tasty dip for toasts, tacos, or crackers (see recipe).

The main course could be thick, juicy pork chops stuffed with spinach, Gruyère cheese, garlic, and nutmeg, topped by a fresh tomato sauce (see recipe). Along with a simple salad, these chops make a meal. Or, if I see a nice-looking chuck roast in the market, I will rub it with hoisin sauce, roast it, and serve it with a sauce of red onion, chives, sage, garlic, and Dijon mustard (see recipe). Any leftover sauce is also great on fish or even pasta. If I’m in the mood for chicken, I might do grilled tenders in an Argentinean chimichurri sauce with garlic, cilantro, and scallions (see recipe)—ready in minutes and perfect for a summer night. In colder weather, I may be tempted to fall back on poulet à la crème, a traditional creamy chicken dish from my hometown in France that I’ve improved upon by adding white wine and mushrooms and using chicken thighs instead of a whole bird (see recipe).

Cooking with offal has become popular among young chefs recently, a trend of which I wholeheartedly approve. Having grown up eating these lesser meats, I’m happy to see that they are becoming more common in supermarkets. Don’t be surprised if you find a dish prepared with them on my table. And don’t be surprised either when you actually like it. That said, I recognize that many cooks are reluctant to prepare such ingredients. If that sounds like you, try my calves’ liver with caramelized onions (see recipe) just once. Gloria absolutely loves this preparation, and the quick-and-easy dish has brought many disbelievers to the offal fold.

Dessert at our house is reserved for when we have guests, and more often than not it means something built around fruit picked at its flavorful peak, such as perfect blueberries or peaches and a nibble of cheese, or rhubarb, honey, mint, and currant-flavored crème de cassis (see recipe). Or it might be caramelized pear custard with maple syrup and rum (see recipe). For those occasions that cry out for an ending on a chocolaty note, try my instant mini chocolate truffles with cognac, dark rum, or Grand Marnier—your call (see recipe). They are fast, foolproof, and so addictive that I usually reserve my truffle making for the Christmas holidays, when excess is always forgiven.

Many of the dishes in this book date back to my childhood. Others were picked up as I learned about American food and traveled the world tasting Asian and Latin American cuisines. Whatever its origins, in my kitchen, a recipe is never carved in stone or static, but a living thing that will change subtly—or occasionally not so subtly—according to whim, new flavors that inspire me, the discovery of more expedient ways to arrive at the result I want, or simply what happens to be in my refrigerator.

I know that I will never make any recipe exactly the same way again. I will always be tinkering with the dish and thinking about new flavors and ingredients to substitute. Please feel free to do the same with these recipes. They will become all the more rewarding when they reflect your heart and soul.

Hors d’Oeuvres

Cannellini Bean Dip

Spicy Garbanzos

Goat Cheese Tostadas

Cheese and Tomato Towers

Camembert with Pistachio Crust

Fontainebleau Cheese

Cucumber Vases

Carpaccio of Baby Bellas

Tomato Tartine

Gougères with Cheese

Shrimp Gougères Provençal

Egg and Herb Treats

Black Bread and Butter Lattice

Cheese and Anchovy Toasts

Salmon Tostadas

Pressed Caviar Canapés

Crab Chips with Salmon Caviar

Tuna Mascarpone Cream

Salmon Rillettes

Calamari and Shrimp Patties

Prosciutto Packages

Duck Liver Mousse with Apples

Cannellini Bean Dip

Serves 4

I like to offer guests a little treat when I’m serving drinks, and this dip is always welcome. My pantry is never without canned beans, from cannellini to black beans to large butter beans. The garnishes make the dish look more attractive—and more like a classic hummus made with chickpeas.


One 1-pound can cannellini beans, drained (about 1¾ cups)

1 large garlic clove, crushed

½ cup diced bread

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon water

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce


⅓ cup reserved beans (from above)

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon poppy seeds

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

3 or 4 tostadas or hard taco shells, broken into wedges, or toasts or rice crackers

For the dip: Reserve ⅓ cup of the beans for garnish. Put the remaining beans in a blender or food processor. Add all the remaining ingredients and process until very smooth, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula a few times if need be to help combine the ingredients.

Transfer the dip (you should have about 2 cups) to a shallow serving dish and create a well in the center.

For the garnishes: Put the reserved beans in the well in the dip and pour in the olive oil. Sprinkle with the paprika, poppy seeds, and parsley. Serve surrounded by the tostadas or tacos, toasts, or crackers.

Spicy Garbanzos

Serves 4

I keep canned garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) on hand to use as a garnish for roasts or for a starter, as in this recipe. I like the hot chili sauce I find at my market, but if it is too hot for you, add only half as much as called for.

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 teaspoons hot chili sauce, such as Sriracha

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup (loosely packed) fresh tarragon leaves, plus an optional sprig for garnish

4 Boston lettuce leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Mix together all the ingredients except the lettuce and chives in a bowl.

Arrange a lettuce leaf on each of four serving plates and fill with the chickpea mixture. Sprinkle with the chives and tarragon, if using, and serve.

Goat Cheese Tostadas

Serves 4

I love to use tostadas, which are toasted tortilla chips or tacos. In Mexico, they have both flat (plana) and rippled, wavy tostadas (ondulato); I use the flat ones for this recipe. I cover them with warmed goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and chives.

6 ounces fresh goat cheese

4 flat tostada shells (about 5 inches in diameter)

4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, cut into ½-inch-wide strips

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Heat the goat cheese in a microwave oven for 30 seconds to soften it.

Spread the cheese on the tostadas and sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes, pepper, chives, and olive oil on top. Break or cut into pieces and enjoy.

In the Beginning

Well-meaning cooks frequently spoil dinner before the guests come to the table by serving a large, robust appetizer or too many smaller dishes. Ideally, an appetizer should titillate, not satisfy, the appetite. It should be a little morsel, well seasoned, so diners say, Wow! That was really good. I wish I could have a little more. But there isn’t any more. And that’s the important part. Appetizers are all about expectations and leaving guests with exciting tastes in their mouths so they are primed to enjoy the courses that follow.

Appetizers should also be easy on the cook. I don’t like to have to think about a first course in the hours just before a meal—I want to concentrate on the main dishes. And the less preparation, the better. In the winter, soup is a great starter, particularly because it can be made ahead of time and put back on the burner just before you’re ready to serve. A soufflé can be mixed together in the afternoon and popped in the oven as guests arrive. One of my favorite fallbacks is to assemble a salad plate with eight or ten tidbits for guests to choose from: hard-cooked eggs, anchovies, smoked salmon, olives, cherry tomatoes. Often I open some oysters and serve a couple to each person. I’m not embarrassed to say that I frequently use the workers behind the deli counter at my supermarket as prep cooks—picking up mozzarella balls, a few different types of olives, and some sun-dried tomatoes leaves me with plenty of time and energy to devote to the main event.

Cheese and Tomato Towers

Serves 4

This is a tasty and beautiful hors d’oeuvre or accompaniment to meat or fish. I use Campari tomatoes, which are the same size when sliced as the Ritz crackers that form the base of the towers. The mozzarella balls should be about the same diameter as well.

2 medium ripe tomatoes, such as Campari (14 ounces)

12 round buttery crackers (about 2½ inches in diameter)

3 small mozzarella balls (4 ounces each), cut into 4 slices each

12 fresh basil leaves

½ teaspoon each coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, mixed together

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Peel or do not peel the tomatoes, as you prefer. Cut each tomato crosswise into 6 slices.

Place a cracker in the center of each of four plates. Top each cracker with a slice of mozzarella and put a basil leaf on top, so it is sticking halfway out. Top with a slice of tomato and sprinkle some of the salt/pepper mixture on top. Repeat this process with the remaining crackers, mozzarella slices, basil leaves, tomatoes, and seasonings, creating towers.

Sprinkle the towers with the olive oil and serve.

Camembert with Pistachio Crust

Serves 4 to 6

I have always enjoyed a good Camembert, especially the raw-milk varieties from France. To make this version a bit more elegant, I moisten the cheese with honey, cover it with chopped pistachios, and serve it garnished with dried cranberries.

½ cup pistachio nuts

1 Camembert cheese round (about 9 ounces), preferably from France and made with raw milk

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup dried cranberries

Crackers, for serving

Process the nuts in a food processor until pulverized but not ground into a powder—small pieces of nuts should still be visible.

Unwrap the cheese. If you object to the crust, you can scrape it lightly; I leave it on. Brush the top and sides of the cheese with the honey. Sprinkle a layer of nuts on top of the Camembert and, holding the cheese round in one hand, pat more nuts around the sides with the other hand, pressing lightly on the nuts so they stick.

Put the remaining nuts in the center of a serving platter and place the cheese on top. Sprinkle the cranberries around the cheese and serve at room temperature, with crackers.

Fontainebleau Cheese

Makes about 2 cups

In France, you find fresh white local cheeses served sometimes with sugar and fresh berries, other times in a savory version seasoned with herbs and garlic. Fontainebleau cheese, named after a town north of Paris, is usually sweetened and served with berries. In several restaurants where I worked, we made it with Petit Suisse, a type of creamy fresh cheese mixed with whipped fresh cream. My version of Fontainebleau is seasoned with salt and pepper, although it can also be sweetened and served with berries for a dessert. I use soft cream cheese, sometimes called spread or whipped. I soften it further in a microwave oven to make it easy to combine with the cream. This recipe yields about 2 cups; I usually divide the mixture in half to make two cheeses.

One 8-ounce container soft cream cheese

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Toasts or baguette slices, for serving

Place the cream cheese in a microwave oven and heat it for about 45 seconds to soften. Combine the cheese in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream, the salt, and pepper and mix well with a whisk.

Whip the remaining ½ cup cream until it is firm. Combine it with the cream cheese mixture.

Moisten the inside of two 1-cup bowls with water and line them with plastic wrap. (The water will make the plastic wrap adhere easily.) Fill the bowls with the cheese. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours, or overnight. (Refrigerated, the cheese will keep for a couple of weeks.)

To serve, invert one (or both) of the cheeses onto a plate and remove the plastic wrap. Spoon the cheese onto toasts or baguette slices.

Big Cheeses

There are two cheeses that I view as must-have kitchen staples, in the same league as salt, sugar, and flour. If you open my fridge, I guarantee that you will always find a piece of good Swiss cheese (the best being Beaufort, Comté, Emmenthaler, and Gruyère, although a really good Norwegian Jarlsberg can stand in) and a block of Parmesan. In addition, there will be a smelly cheese like Époisses, Pont l’Évêque, or Camembert, preferably made from unpasteurized milk.

I love to nibble on a piece of cheese at the end of a meal. But in my kitchen, cheese is as much an additive and flavor enhancer to other dishes as a stand-alone treat. I shred or grate it into soups, add it to gratins and soufflés, and crumble it atop green salads. Occasionally I gather all the tidbits of old dried-out cheese in my refrigerator, scrape any mold from them, and process them in the food processor with garlic, white wine, and black pepper to create a pungent paste called fromage fort. It is great spread on toasts for serving as an hors d’oeuvre or with a salad.

France’s wealth of great cheese was one of the things I missed most when I arrived in the United States in 1959. With their Velveeta cheese food and bland blocks of American cheese, the grocery store dairy cases were forlorn places for a transplanted cheese aficionado. Salvation came when my friend Jean-Claude Szurdak found a shop in New York that stocked small bricks of a particularly pungent variety of Limburger imported from Germany. We were happy, even though visitors occasionally recoiled when they opened our refrigerator. But pungency does have its limits. If you encounter a piece of cheese that gives off a smell of ammonia, it’s a goner and, sadly, should be discarded.

One of the great benefits brought about by the revolution in American cuisine over the past few decades has been the explosion of artisanal cheese makers in this country. It seems like new brands are introduced every day—and they are winning international medals. To the uninitiated, the selection can be overwhelming, even intimidating. Fortunately there has been an equally large growth in the number of boutique cheesemongers who are more than happy to share their passion. Whole Foods Market also carries an impressive selection. If in doubt, put yourself in the hands of the person behind the counter. Pick up small pieces of several different cheeses, or select a cross section of one category, like blue cheeses. You

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  • (2/5)
    I borrowed this through Prime Reads.Jacques Pepin has published tons of cookbooks over the years. In this one, he says he wanted to collect the recipes that he likes to make. The emphasis here is on foods for entertaining and savory meals. There are very few recipes for breads or desserts, and many of those are shortcut-style recipes (use existing brioche or madelines, that kind of thing) rather than making them from scratch.Many of the recipes do look good. However, they also heavily reflect his level of prestige and the area where he now resides in New England. I live in Arizona. So many involve ingredients that I cannot get at all, or if I did, they would be terribly expensive. I look at a lot of recipes and thought, "Well, I might order that in a fancy restaurant" but I'd never make it myself at home--my husband sure wouldn't eat it.I prefer cookbooks that have pictures of the finished results, too. There were few photographs. I did, however, enjoy Pepin's frequent paintings. That personal touch added to the pleasantness of his voice throughout the text.In the end, I only found a couple recipes I might be willing to try, but nothing I want to rush out and make right away. This would be a fine cookbook for someone in the northeast US or with a willingness to spend extra on kitchen experimentation, but not for me.