By Jacques Pépin
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40
Over his 60-year professional cooking career, Jacques Pépin has created thousands of recipes, written 26 cookbooks, and taught America how to cook via three decades of television shows. Now, finally, he has put together his greatest hits, so to speak, in one gorgeous cookbook. With more than 700 sophisticated yet straightforward recipes, Pépin chronicles his career as a chef and cooking teacher, and offers readers a fascinating glimpse into how food has evolved over the last half-century. Mushrooms Stuffed with Escargots comes from Pépin’s days cooking at Paris’s Plaza Athenée in the 1950s; Chicken with Cognac Sauce was a specialty of the Pavillon restaurant in New York City, where Pépin fi rst worked when he came to this country in 1959; My Mother’s Chicken Ragoût stems from his childhood, of course; and the Fresh Corn Soufflé is a perfect example of how his classical French training fused with his adopted American ingredient-driven practicality. In addition to the stories, the techniques (the book comes with a three-hour instructional DVD), and the recipes, there are hundreds of Pépin’s own whimsical line drawings, which bring a homey humbleness to this epic volume.
Cucumbers with Tarragon (page 428) Cooked cucumbers? Absolutely. This easy, surprisingly elegant side dish is buttery and undeniably good.
Poached Salmon in Ravigote Sauce (page 196) Masterful in its simplicity, salmon is poached in water and topped with a raw tomato sauce loaded with scallions, lemon, and capers.