RSLG, nous sommes arrivés! Gathering around Jacques Pepin’s kitchen table to discuss Holiday Foods, actually talking turkey with this cooking legend, was most definitely a “pinch me, I’m dreaming” moment. Not just for myself and Bruce, but for all of the lucky RLSG panelists that were invited to break bread with this world renowned French chef, TV personality, author, instructor, artist, and family man whose knowledge of all things food is truly encyclopedic.
Although he’s cooked for Presidents and celebrities, julienned with Julia, and dined with countless Michelin–starred Chefs, anyone lucky enough to share a meal chez Jacques finds him to be easygoing, charming, funny and utterly without pretense. We had a fabulous time and can’t thank him enough for taking time out of his astonishingly busy schedule to host us.
But first—the wine! Our thirsty eyes watched Jacques select and uncork some vin rouge. Pours all around, and then, with the help of his good friend and fellow cook Claude Martin, the inimitable JP offered up some nibbles for our panel to sample. (We all sampled!) Tales were told, tips were offered and Jacques generosity was matched only by his expertise.
At one point in our discussion, food writer Lee White raved about Jacques’ recipe for Brussel Sprouts and Bacon, a vegetable side dish that has become part of her Holiday repertoire. Since Jacques promises, “fantastic results”, I will require no further coaxing to prepare it this year for my crew. The following recipe is from Jacques Pepin’s More Fast Food My Way (Houghton Mifflin). You should try preparing it too – and let me know how it turns out.
Fricassee of Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
Number of Servings: 4
1 pound trimmed and cleaned Brussels sprouts
4 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Using the slicing blade on your food processor, cut the Brussels sprouts into slices about 1/4-inch thick, about 5 cups. (May also use just a knife & cutting board.)
Scatter the bacon pieces in a large skillet, add the oil, cover and cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the pieces are crisp and brown and most of the fat is rendered. Add the sliced sprouts, salt and pepper; cover and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes to soften the sprouts.
Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing occasionally, for about 2 minutes, until the sprouts are tender but still a bit firm. Serves 4.
Cindy Papish Gerber, who hails from Brooklyn NY, is currently the is currently the producer for The Real Life Survival Guide. She has worked in television, radio, theatre, visual arts, education, public relations, book publishing, fashion and journalism. Her writing can be found in many online and print publications, covering everything from brides to oyster breeding. She’s especially proud of her Emmy Award …and of being mom to her two adult (gulp!) aged kids.