jacques pepin’s eggs jeanette

one of the books we were required to read for our cooking class this week is jacques pepin’s memoir the apprentice: my life in the kitchen. if you didn’t know, pepin worked with julia child to set up boston university’s gastronomy program, and he acted as an instructor for many classes before i started. i unfortunately haven’t gotten to meet him – though he did make a brief appearance in my cheese class semester, snagging a few bites of camembert and trying to steal a bottle of wine – but this book gave a delightful perspective on his culinary experiences throughout his amazing life. the man has had an incredible life.

of course, every chapter of the book ends with a delicious recipe from a different point in his life. many of from restaurants he’s worked in, or from specific regions he lived in, but the first recipe in the book is one of his mother’s. as soon as i read it, i just had to make this so that i could snack on it while i read the rest of the book.

absolutely worth it. these eggs are awesome. i know, i just posted about eggs, but these are an essential. they’re like deviled eggs, but better. and trust me, i love me a good deviled egg.

do yourself a favor and read this book. i’m going to try to make more of these recipes, but if you can’t do anything else, at least make these eggs as soon as possible, and thank jacques pepin for being completely amazing.

les oeufs jeanette – from jacques pepin’s the apprentice

6 jumbo eggs (preferably organic)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably peanut oil)

for the dressing:
2 to 3 tablespoons leftover egg stuffing (from above)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
crunchy french bread

put the eggs in a small saucepan, and cover with boiling water. bring to a very gentle boil, and let boil for 9 to 10 minutes. drain off the water and shake the eggs in the saucepan to crack the shells. (this will help in the removal of the shells later on). fill the saucepan with cold water and ice, and let the eggs cool for 15 minutes.

shell the eggs under cold, running water and split them lengthwise. remove the yolks carefully, put them in a bowl. add the garlic, parsley, milk, salt and pepper. crush with a fork to create a coarse paste. spoon the mixture back into the hollows of the egg whites, reserving 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling to use in the sauce.

heat the vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet and place the eggs stuffed side down. cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the eggs are beautifully browned on the stuffed side. remove, and arrange stuffed side up on a platter.

for the dressing, mix all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk or a spoon until well combined. coat the warm eggs with the dressing and serve lukewarm with crunchy french bread as a first course or main course for lunch.

the incredible, edible (delicious, exciting) egg

anybody who claims not to like eggs just hasn’t tried them enough.

remember julia roberts in runaway bride? not that i’m recommending this film, because it really is awful, but i love the little detail of eggs that runs through it. the idea is that none of the men that julia attempts to marry really know her, and richard gere uses eggs to prove it. every guy thinks that she likes eggs “the same way i do – [scrambled/fried/poached/stomped on the ground/whatever].” the truth is, even she doesn’t know how she likes her eggs, because she doesn’t try any other kind, instead just ordering whatever her man-of-the-moment prefers.

i know, it’s too early for sappy rom-com clichés – sorry. here’s a better point: did you know that the tall white master chef’s hats traditionally have 100 pleats, since the chef should know (at least) 100 ways to prepare an egg? eggs are ridiculously versatile, can be used for any meal (not just breakfast or brunch…or brinner!), and can take on any texture from soft to runny to firm to whipped.

all this to say: eggs are awesome. and don’t tell me you don’t like them just because you think poached eggs are gross or your mom always made your scrambled eggs too runny. stop whining and get out a pan – i promise, you’ll find a type of egg that you can’t get enough of.

culinary classes are going well, thanks for asking. next week we’re making eggs, so i thought i’d get in the mood by trying a brand new egg recipe (new to me, anyway). like any good culinary student, i pulled out my copy of julia child’s mastering the art of french cooking, flipped through the egg chapter, and found my breakfast: oeufs en cocette (eggs baked in ramekins).

they’re super easy, probably horrible for you, and taste absolutely delicious. seriously, no culinary skill of any sort required – if you can preheat your oven and crack an egg, you’re pretty much golden.

oeufs en concette

(ingredients per serving)
1/2 tsp butter
2 tbsp whipping cream
1-2 eggs

preheat oven to 375 degrees, and fill a pan with about half an inch of water, placing over medium heat until water is simmering. lightly butter a ramekin (one per serving), and save a bit for later. add 1 tablespoon of cream, and set the ramekins into the pan. when the cream is hot, break the egg into the ramekin, then top with the rest of the cream and the last of the butter.

(if you want, you can mix other goodies in with the cream, or just sprinkle them on after you put the cream in. i added some chopped spinach and a bit of grated romano cheese. try anything that sounds good, but these are also great plain.)

carefully move the pan into your hot oven and bake for 7-10 minutes. according to julia, “the eggs are done when they are just set but still tremble slightly in the ramekins.” the eggs will cook a bit more once you take them out of the oven, so it’s better to pull them out slightly undercooked if you can. season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.