Jul 01 2017

Alone In The Kitchen With An Old Frenchman

Recently French chef Jacques Pépin turned 80 and retired. Over the years, he educated viewers of Public Television on how to cook and, something that no other cooking show host has done, techniques in the kitchen with wisdom, humor and a smattering of French lessons. As Gilad Edelman wrote in a Slate article, this man will teach you how to cook

Toast To Julia

Jacques raises a glass – and a fork! – to his beloved friend Julia Child as he shares recipes and anecdotes from their past. First, Sole Vin Blanc, one of Julia’s favorites, begins with a fish filleting lesson, and a healthy pour of white wine for the sauce. Next, he mixes together an aromatic assortment of spices for a pan-roasted Rack Of Lamb With Spice Crust served on a crown of Fried Potatoes cooked to a golden brown crisp and accompanied by a stew of Peas And Fennel With Lardons. Lastly, Jacques shows us how to finish a large menu with a light fruit dessert by making Wine-Sherbet Finale in honor of his friend Julia.

Sole Vin Blanc

“To give this classic dish a modern twist, I do not make a traditional velouté, a roux-thickened fish fumet or stock, for the sauce. Instead, I just poach the fish in wine and fish stock and add fresh butter at the end.

“The best sole for this recipe would be real Dover sole (the market can fillet it for you), but since it is not always available and it is expensive, you can substitute fluke or another sole.” —Jacques Pépin

Rack of Lamb with Spice Crust and Fried Potatoes

“After I trim the fat from the outside of the rack, I coat it with a spicy rub and refrigerate it until cooking time. The rack can be cooked in a skillet on top of the stove or on a grill, which is how I do it in this recipe. If you plan to serve the rack as it comes off the grill, place it in a 275-degree oven for about 15 minutes, for a medium-rare result. If the rack is grilled a couple of hours ahead and allowed to cool in the kitchen, place it in a 275-degree oven for 30 minutes to reheat and finish cooking.” —Jacques Pépin

Wine-Sherbet Finale

“Real fruit sherbet is made of fruit puree and sugar, with no egg, milk, or cream; it is called sorbet in French and sorbetto in Italian. Containers of store-bought sherbet or ice cream at the market start to soften on the outside before I can get them home. I unmold them and cut them into portions, which I wrap individually in plastic bags for storage in the freezer, so I can retrieve them one at a time when needed.

“For this dish, I transfer the portions from the freezer to the refrigerator to soften a little while we eat the main course. Then I top them with berries and wine at the last moment.” —Jacques Pépin