Technique trumps recipes
Turkey Cutlets in Anchovy-Lemon Sauce
1 whole turkey breast (about 5 pounds) 1 2-ounce can anchovy fillets in oil 1 tablespoon drained capers 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 1 teaspoon salt
1 2-ounce can anchovy fillets in oil
1 tablespoon drained capers
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
11/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Using a meat pounder, pound the cutlets lightly between two sheets of plastic wrap to make them approximately equal in size and about 3/8 inch thick. Set aside. Drain the anchovies, reserving the oil. Coarsely chop the anchovies and put them in a bowl. Toss with the capers and lemon juice and set aside.
Divide the butter and anchovy oil between two large skillets and heat until hot. Sprinkle the cutlets with the salt and pepper and dredge in the flour, shaking the cutlets as they are lightly coated. Place in the pans and saute for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. (They will be slightly pink inside.)
Transfer the cutlets to a serving platter. Add the anchovy-lemon juice mixture to the juices in the skillets, stir to melt the solidified juices, pour over the cutlets and serve. (The cutlets can be kept in a 160-degree oven until you are ready to serve.)
Sprinkle the cutlets with the chopped parsley and serve.
Updated: April 18, 2012 3:29PM
Dramatic changes have reshaped the culinary scene since master chef Jacques Pepin moved to the United States from his native France in 1959. Now nutrition, diets, organic foods and artisan goods all command attention, while media exposure is elevating the status of chefs and restaurateurs to new heights.
The 77-year-old chef, cookbook author and teacher recognizes the transformation in Essential Pepin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40), his 26th cookbook and a companion to the 11th public television cooking series he has hosted.
While the hefty 685-page volume serves up more than 700 updated versions of Pepin’s all-time favorite recipes, one thing the affable, down-to-earth chef makes clear is that techniques and methods always trump recipes.
“While trends change, basic techniques do not, whether it’s boning a chicken, cooking an omelet or making a chocolate goblet,” Pepin writes in the introduction. On more than one occasion he has observed: “a great chef is first a great technician.”
With that in mind, Essential Pepin comes with a three-hour instructional DVD in which the chef demonstrates nearly 100 techniques from how to sharpen a knife to how to chop garlic. Segments under “Basics,” for example, provide plenty of useful tips, from cutting parchment paper to sautéeing like a chef.
The book lacks full-color photography but contains fetching black-and-white food-related line drawings produced by Pepin’s own hand.
Chapter topics cover the gamut from soups and salads to fish, poultry and game. Fruit and frozen desserts rate separate chapters as do puddings, sweet souffles and crêpes; cakes, cookies and candies; and tarts, pies and pastries.
Turkey Cutlets in Anchovy-Lemon Sauce (see accompanying recipe) makes a delicious dinner entrée. Serve it with a side salad and a vegetable dish.
Carve your own
For cost effectiveness, Pepin recommends starting with an unboned turkey breast and trimming your own cutlets. Reserve the bones for soup or stew and roast the skin on a cookie sheet for 20-30 minutes, until brown and crisp, in a 400-degree oven; use as cracklings to garnish salads and soups. For convenience, substitute eight boneless turkey cutlets weighing 6 to 8 ounces each for the whole breast.
To go with the cutlets, or for a hearty side dish any time, Pepin offers Gratin Dauphinoise, a simple preparation of potatoes, made rich with just enough cream. It’s a hearty comfort food that still evokes pleasant memories, he writes.
“This dish is my version of a classic from my youth. My mother always makes her gratin exclusively with milk and tops the potatoes with grated Gruyère cheese before baking. Sometimes I use grated cheese in this dish, but other times I don’t, depending on my mood. It is important not to rinse or soak the potatoes after slicing them. Rinsing would remove most of the starch, which is needed to thicken the mixture as it comes to a boil on top of the stove. The gratin goes well with a salad of frisée or escarole dressed with a mustardy garlic dressing. One of the greatest treats of this dish is the leftovers, which can be enjoyed cool or at room temperature the next day.”
Recipes excerpted from Essential Pepin, © 2011 by Jacques Pepin. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.