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Jacques Pepin Celebrates


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cold mousse of chicken and pistachios - foie gras with port wine aspic
salad tulipe with walnut dressing - salmon mousseline

yield: 8 to 10 servings

10 ounces chicken fat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 or 5 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large bay leaf, crushed
3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
6 ounces chicken-breast meat, cleaned of skin, sinews, and fat, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup sliced shallots (3 or 4 medium shallots)
10 ounces chicken livers, cleaned of sinews
1 teaspoon salt
1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and chopped (about 1 teaspoon) (see illustrated garlic preparation, page 170)
2 tablespoons cognac
1/4 cup shelled pistachios

A few thin strips of red pepper, chives, green of leeks and scallions, carrot, radishes, and tomatoes

1 egg white from a large egg
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 34 tablespoon)
1/2 cup green of leeks, celery, and parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt, if needed, depending on the saltiness of the stock
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (see White Stock, page 15)
Melba toast or black bread for serving with the mousse

Cook the chicken fat in a large skillet over medium to high heat until most of the fat is rendered and the pieces of chicken fat are brown. Meanwhile, in a small spice- or coffee-grinder, process the thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns until ground into a powder. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the shallots, chicken livers, powdered spices, salt, and garlic to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes. The livers should be barely cooked through, still pink in the center. Remove from the heat, and let cool for 2 minutes.

Transfer the contents of the skillet to the bowl of a food processor, and emulsify for 30 seconds, until smooth. Add the cognac, and process only until the ingredients are well blended and smooth.

Push the mixture through a food mill fitted with a small screen, or through a sieve set over a bowl, then fold in the pistachios. Cover the mousse, and refrigerate until it begins to set firm. Mix well to assure that it doesn't look broken, and when the mousse is smooth, pack it into a 3-to-4-cup pâté mold, terrine, or gratin dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

The following day, decorate the top of the mousse, using the thinly cut red-pepper strips, chives, green of leeks and scallions, and carrot, radish, and tomato pieces to create a vase filled with flowers or another design to your liking. All the greens should be dropped in boiling water, blanched for approximately 10 to 15 seconds, until wilted, and cooled under cold water, and pieces of sliced carrot should be blanched in water for 1 minute. Pieces of radish, tomato, and red pepper do not need to be blanched. Do not use any vegetable or fruit that will impart a taste to the pâté, such as lemon skin, or beets, which would discolor it. Decorate according to your own fancy, making a frame with the long pieces of scallion, if you wish. Tamp down the decoration with the point of the knife or the tip of your finger to set it into the pâté.

For the aspic: In a saucepan, mix together well the egg white, gelatin, green of leeks, celery, and parsley, pepper, optional salt, and chicken stock. Bring to a strong boil over high heat, and cook for about 5 seconds. Set the pan aside, off the heat, and let rest undisturbed for 5 minutes, then strain through a sieve lined with wet paper towels. Place over ice, and stir gently until the mixture gets very syrupy and ready to set. This is the time to use it, when it is at its shiniest and most translucent. Using a spoon and working quickly, coat the top of the mousse with some of the aspic, until the entire surface is covered. Refrigerate again until well set. Extra aspic can be coarsely chopped when set and served with the mousse later on.

1. To decorate the mousse, use thinly cut strips of pepper, scallions, carrots, and tomatoes to create an image of a vase filled with long-stemmed flowers.
2. Tap the decorations down with the point of a knife.
3. Spoon syrupy aspic over to coat the top of the mousse.

To serve: Use a cold spoon to dish out helpings of the mousse. Serve with small pieces of Melba toast or black bread.

FRESH FOIE GRAS WITH port wine aspic
yield: 8 to 10 servings

About 1 1/2 pounds fresh Grade A foie gras
(1 fattened duck liver)

Seasoning Mixture
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 tablespoons good cognac

Port Wine Aspic
1/2 cup coarsely chopped green of leeks
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/4 cup coarsely chopped carrot
2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh chervil
1 large sprig tarragon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (about 2 tablespoons)
1 egg white from a large egg
2 cups good white stock (see White Stock, page 15)
1 1/2 tablespoons good port wine
1 small truffle, sliced and cut into julienne
strips (optional)
Bread or brioche (see Brioche Mousseline,
page 288)

Soak the foie gras, still vacuum-sealed in plastic, in tepid water for about 1 hour to soften.

Following the illustrations, remove the liver from the plastic. You will notice that it has two lobes. Separate by breaking these lobes apart, and remove and discard as much of the sinews, veins, and gristle running through the liver as possible, pushing inside the meat with your thumb or index finger to dislodge them. (Don’t worry if the liver is broken into several pieces; it will still join together during cooking. However, when the foie gras is to be sliced and sautéed, it is best to slice it before cleaning, then remove the pieces of sinew from the slices afterward.)

If any part of the foie gras appears greenish, it probably means that the gallbladder has broken and run slightly onto it. This liquid is extremely bitter, and any green areas should be sliced off and discarded. Dry the foie gras with paper towels.

For the seasoning mixture: Mix the salt, sugar, pepper, and gelatin together in a small bowl, and sprinkle it and the cognac on the foie gras. Push some of the large pieces of foie gras tightly into a glass or porcelain terrine about the same size as the liver (3 inches deep and with a 3-to-4-cup capacity). Arrange smaller pieces of foie gras on top, in the center, and cover with the remaining larger pieces, pressing the liver into a tight block in the terrine.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Cover the terrine with a piece of plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil, securing it tightly around the edges. Place the terrine in a roasting pan, and add enough tepid water to the pan to reach two-thirds of the way up the outside of the terrine. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the foie gras reaches an internal temperature of about 120 degrees.

Cut a piece of cardboard to fit on top of the foie gras in the terrine, and wrap the cardboard in aluminum foil. Place the cardboard on top of the foie gras, and add a weight of about 1 pound. Let cool, refrigerated, overnight. The weight will press any extra fat out of the foie gras.

The following day, remove the weight, and scrape off the surface fat, which can be used to sauté vegetables or added to sauces for flavor. Serve as suggested in the photograph on page 247, or make the aspic as follows. Make sure the foie gras is cleaned of all surface fat and is flat. Press on it with plastic wrap, if need be. Sprinkle the truffle strips on top.

To make the aspic: Put the leeks, celery, carrot, chervil, tarragon, pepper, salt, and gelatin into a saucepan, then add the egg white, stirring to mix well. Bring the stock to a boil in a separate saucepan, and add it
to the aspic mixture, stirring to combine well. Cook over high heat, stirring, until it comes to a strong boil, then stop stirring, remove from the heat, and set aside, undisturbed, for about 15 minutes.

Strain the aspic through a cloth towel into a saucepan. There should be about 3 cups.

Let cool to lukewarm, and add the port wine. Cool until aspic is syrupy, then pour a layer about 1?2 inch thick on top of the truffles and foie gras in the terrine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

To serve: Cut the foie gras with a knife, and dish out one slice per person along with some of the aspic on top. Serve with a slice of bread or brioche and, if possible, a glass of Château d'Yquem.

yield: 6 servings

This salad is a flavorful combination of field salad, pecans, pears, goat cheese, and walnut-oil dressing. The field or corn salad (doucette or mâche in French) is planted around the end of August and gets large enough to be ready for picking at the end of November. After the first frost, it becomes sweeter and tenderer. If these greens are not available, the salad can be made with a mesclun mixture, widely available now in most supermarkets.
The pears must be ripe; Bartlett, Comice, or Anjou pears

36 to 40 segments field or corn salad (mâche)
(6 to 8 pieces per person), or 6 cups mesclun salad greens, thoroughly rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
30 pecan halves
Pinch salt
3 ripe pears (Bartlett, Comice, or Anjou)
1 tablespoon lemon juice for pears
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
(see illustrated mignonnette technique,
page 30)
3/4 pound goat cheese, preferably the small,
round, semi-hard variety

Walnut Dressing
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon peanut or safflower oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Try to keep each individual bunch of field salad attached together. Pinch off the bottom of the root from each, and rinse the salad carefully in cold water. Dry in a salad spinner.
Place the butter on a small baking tray, and heat in the 375-degree oven for about a minute to melt. Scatter the pecans and the salt over the butter, toss together, and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until nicely browned. Set aside. The pecans should be served at room temperature.

Halve the three pears lengthwise, then core, peel, and cut each half into three pieces. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration, then sprinkle with the cracked pepper. Cut the goat cheese into small wedges.

For the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, walnut oil, salt, pepper, and peanut oil in a small bowl.

Put three pieces of pear near the edge of each plate with wedges of cheese and pecans between. Arrange bunches of field salad in the center of the plates, and sprinkle approximately 2 teaspoons of dressing on each salad. Serve immediately.

yield: 12 to 14 servings

Salmon is one of the most prized of all fish, and this recipe for a whole salmon makes a rich and impressive main course for a special dinner or a stunning buffet centerpiece. The flesh is most delectable when served warm right out of the poaching broth. Wild salmon, not readily available and quite pricey, is the best, but raised salmon, an Atlantic species, is excellent and available year-round.

The leeks can be cooked ahead and reheated in hot water at serving time. Salmon caviar or roe, used here as a garnish, is usually available freshly processed, which is better than what you find pasteurized in jars. The salty, slightly acidic taste of salmon eggs contrasts nicely with the richness of the mousseline sauce.
The mousseline base is a hollandaise sauce, and then whipped cream is spooned on top. The two should not be combined until the last minute, or the sauce will liquefy. The salmon can also be served with herb butter or lemon butter.

Stock for Salmon
3 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
2 medium carrots (about 6 ounces), peeled and cut
into 1/2-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups sliced celery, preferably the green leafy part
2 cups sliced green of leek (from the remains of the
leeks in the leeks-and-salmon-caviar recipe, below)
4 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 very fresh salmon (about 6 pounds), gutted, with
the head on (about 24 inches long and 2 1/2 inches thick at the thickest point)
leeks and salmon caviar
14 to 16 leeks of medium to large size, trimmed
(see illustrations, page 107)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 ounces salmon-roe caviar (about 1 slightly
heaping teaspoon per person)

Mousseline Sauce
8 egg yolks from large eggs
1 pound unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream

About 12 lettuce leaves and 1 bunch
parsley, for decoration

Stock for salmon: Put all the stock ingredients in a large kettle. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Set the pan aside, off the heat and uncovered, to cool for at least 1 hour.
Pour the cooled stock (including solids) from the kettle into the bottom of a fish poacher, and arrange the salmon in its wire rack on top. Fill the fish poacher with additional cold water, so the fish is completely submerged. Drape a kitchen towel over the fish to keep it submerged during cooking, and bring the stock to just below the boil, 180 to 190 degrees. (If the stock boils, the fish could twist and break.) Poach a 6-pound salmon at that temperature for 16 to 18 minutes, adding 5 extra minutes for each additional pound. Set the poacher aside, off the heat, and keep the salmon in the hot stock for at least 30 minutes before serving. (If serving the salmon cold, let it remain in the stock until completely cool.)

Prepare the leeks: Split the trimmed leeks lengthwise into fourths, as illustrated (page 107),

stopping just before you reach the root end of each so they remain attached at that end. Wash under cold water, and tie the leeks into two bundles, seven to eight per bundle. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, add the salt, and drop the leeks into the water. Cover, bring the water back to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, and boil gently, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks are tender when pierced with the point of a knife. Drain (reserving the cooking liquid for stock, soup, or sauces, if desired), and squeeze out excess moisture by pressing on the leeks with a spoon. Untie the leeks, then spread them out on a plate, cool them to lukewarm, and split each one lengthwise into pieces. In a small bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper, and coat the leeks with the dressing.

For the mousseline sauce: Meanwhile, using the egg yolks, butter, and lemon juice, make a hollandaise sauce (see page 40), and set it aside. In a bowl, whip the cream until firm, then cover and refrigerate.

At serving time, lift the salmon out of the hot broth, and slide it onto a serving platter. (If you wish, strain and freeze the broth for use in soups or sauces.) Peel off and discard the skin on top of the salmon. Then, using a knife, remove the back fins, which will come off easily from the cooked fish. Scrape off and discard the dark flesh, which is mostly fat, from the top center of the fillet.

Arrange lettuce and parsley around the salmon. Decorate the salmon with parsley, working quickly so the salmon will still be lukewarm when served.

At serving time, arrange the equivalent of one leek on each plate, forming the long strips into a round, hollow “nest” for the salmon. To carve the salmon, run a thin, sharp-bladed knife down the middle line
of the fish, cutting down to the central bone and separating the top fillet into halves. Then cut the long strips of flesh crosswise into chunks 3 to 4 inches long and, using a fork or spoon to help lift out the cut portions, arrange them in the leek “nests.”

When the top fillet has been served, lift off the central bone gently, and discard it. Scrape off any skin or fatty tissue from the bottom fillet, then cut it into portions and continue arranging on plates. Sprinkle the salmon roe around the leeks. Transfer the warm hollandaise to a sauceboat, and spoon the whipped cream on top. Mix the cream lightly with the hollandaise as you spoon it out onto the salmon pieces. Serve immediately.

cold mousse of chicken and pistachios - foie gras with port wine aspic
salad tulipe with walnut dressing - salmon mousseline

Excerpted from Jacques Pepin Celebrates by Jacques Pepin Copyright 2001 by Jacques Pepin. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.