Jacques Pepin Honors his Mother

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Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pépin serves up fast food at home in Jacques Pépin More Fast Food My Way. The beloved television chef and cookbook author has published 25 cookbooks and hosted nine acclaimed public television cooking series. 

Jacques Mother


Jacques Pepin's Mother

Roasted Split Chicken with Mustard Crust
Makes 4 servings

Pepin says he often makes this recipe at home when I in a hurry, because splitting and flattening the chicken and cutting between the joints of the leg and the shoulder reduce the cooking time by half. He uses kitchen shears to split the chicken open at the back and to cut the cooked bird into serving pieces and a knife to cut between the joints. The mustard crust can be made ahead and even spread on the chicken a day ahead, if you like. He pours the cooked chicken juices into a fat separator with a spout and serve over Fluffy Mashed Potatoes, leaving the fat behind.

Mustard Crust
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp Tabasco hot pepper sauce
tsp herbes de Provençe
1/2 tsp salt
1 chicken (about 3 1/2 lbs)
Fluffy Mashed Potatoes (optional)

For the crust: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. With a kitchen shears or sharp knife, cut alongside the backbone of the chicken to split it open. Spread and press on the chicken with your hands to flatten it. Using a sharp paring knife, cut halfway through both sides of the joints connecting the thighs and drumsticks and cut through the joints of the shoulder under the wings as well. (This will help the heat penetrate these joints and accelerate the cooking process.)

Put the chicken skin side down on a cutting board and spread it with about half the mustard mixture. Place the chicken flat in a large skillet, mustard side down. Spread the remaining mustard on the skin side of the chicken. Cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, then place the skillet in the oven and cook.

Crisp Pear Tart
Makes 4 servings

Using a 7" flour tortilla as the "crust" or shell and Bartlett or Anjou pears that are ripe enough to eat as the fruit topping, you can make a fast and easy fruit tart. To make certain that the crust is crisp and caramelized on the bottom, butter and sugar the underside of the tortilla before topping it with the pears. Some of the mixture usually runs out from the bottom of the tart and the tart may burn lightly around the edge, giving a caramelized edge to the  tart shell. If you object to it, you can trim a little of it off.

1 7-inch flour tortilla

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 medium firm but ripe Bartlett or Anjou pears (about 3/4 lb total)
3 Tablespoons apricot preserves
1 Tablespoon pistachio nuts

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the tortilla in the center of a cookie sheet lined with a reusable nonstick mat. Spread 1 tablespoon of the butter on top of the tortilla and sprinkle it with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Turn the tortilla over so the buttered side is underneath.

Peel, core, and cut each pear into about 12 wedges. Beginning at the edge of the tortilla, start arranging the wedges in a concentric circle with the thin edge of each wedge facing toward the center of the tortilla. Create another slightly overlapping circle, working in toward the center of the tortilla. Add additional rows with the remaining wedges, ending with a few pear pieces in the center to complete what will look like a large rose. Scatter the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, divided into pieces, on top and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pear slices are tender and the tortilla is crisp and browned. Remove from the oven, set aside for a minute or so, then lift the tart with a spatula and transfer it to a rack to cool, discarding any burned bits around it.

Heat the apricot preserves, if too thick to use as a glaze, in a microwave oven for about 10 seconds to liquefy. Spread the glaze on top of the tart. Cut the tart into 4 wedges, sprinkle with pistachios, and serve at room temperature.


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