Nov 11 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

Just Ducky!

It’s a family reunion as Jacques’ daughter Claudine lends a helping hand in the kitchen. Together they sip wine, reminiscence and cook some of Claudine’s favorite duck recipes, including Duck Liver Mousse with Apples and Sautéed Duck Breast with Arugula Salad and Cracklings. Claudine and Jacques share the cutting board to chop up duck skin and whisk-up a vinaigrette for this delectable dish. Granddaughter Shorey joins in the fun as she and her beloved Papi, whip up a zesty batch of Lemon Mousseline before sitting down to enjoy this family feast at the dining room table.

Sautéed Duck Breast with Arugula Salad and Cracklings

“At the beginning of my career, and for many years afterward, there were only a couple of ways of cooking duck: roasted whole or in a stew. In the 1970s, nouvelle cuisine brought us boneless breast of duck sautéed or grilled and served rare, with or without a sauce. Conventionally, the skin is scored and the breast is sautéed skin side down until a great deal of fat is rendered and the skin is richly browned and caramelized. The meat will be rare and juicy, but the skin will still be quite fatty and somewhat soft inside, and most people leave it on their plates. In my version of this dish, I remove the skin from the breasts, cut it into 3/4-inch pieces, and cook it into crispy cracklings. You can do this step ahead and enjoy the extra cracklings with your aperitifs. (The fat rendered when cooking the skin is delicious in pâtés, or use it for sautéing potatoes.)

“Then the duck breasts are sautéed at the last moment and served with an arugula salad sprinkled with the cracklings.” —Jacques Pépin