Posts Tagged ‘Jacques Pepin’

If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you’ll know that we’re big Jacques Pépin fans.  His recipes have never let us down!

This tapenade recipe, from Chez Jacques, Traditions and Rituals of a Cook, was simple to make and absolutely delicious.  It’s an unusual twist on the straight olive version. Pépin mentions that in the south of France, tapenade is often known as the “butter of Provence”…

For this recipe, I used a mix of Kalamata olives and these  shriveled dried black Italian olives (which are normally pan-fried or roasted). Both were bought whole and pitted before use.

  • 300g (1½ cups) pitted olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 8 anchovy fillets, in oil
  • 3 dried figs, quartered
  • 8 mint leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Note: As my figs were very dry, I began by soaking them in hot water first.

Place all the ingredient into a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Pépin prefers his tapenade fairly coarse, but I made mine a little finer.  The figs and mint add an extra dimension to the salty olives and anchovies.

Serve on slices of toasted sourdough, with a cold glass of wine.

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Fromage Fort

Warning: this recipe isn’t for everyone.  If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, stinky cheeses or fondues, click away now.

I’ve been tossing up whether or not to post this – surely there aren’t many people other than me who would enjoy a bowl of soft, stinky blue-grey cheese? Certainly the rest of my family won’t go near it.

Nevertheless here it is: Fromage Fort (“strong cheese”) from my food hero Jacques Pépin, in Chez Jacques, Traditions and Rituals of a Cook.  This frugal recipe from Pépin’s youth was traditionally made by his father.  I’ll let him tell you about it…

Making fromage fort is the ultimate way of using your leftover cheese. When my father used to make it every month or so, he would go through our garde manger…He would search through our leftover cheese in this container, often finding pieces of very hard, strong, smelly goat cheese.  He would scratch the top of the cheese with his knife to see if there was  mold on it, which he would remove before placing the cheese in his crock.  On top of this he would place pieces of Camembert or Brie…then add pieces of Swiss, blue cheese, and fresher goat cheese.  He would cover these with leek broth, white wine, and two or three cloves of crushed garlic.

These ingredients would marinate in a cold place in the cellar for 1 to 1½ weeks, sometimes longer…eventually, it was smelly enough and soft enough for him…and then he would crush it with a large fork into a puree and add salt and pepper, if need be.

. . . . .

My take on Pépin’s recipe includes a little Kirsch – a hangover from my 80s fondue days.

  • 250g assorted cheeses – in my fridge, I had Gorgonzola Dolce, grated Parmesan, Manchego, Picasso sheeps’ cheese and some Philadelphia cream cheese.  Use whatever you have, although I’d be inclined to avoid anything with uninvited mould growing on it.
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • splash of Kirsch
  • freshly ground black pepper

1.  Grate the hard cheeses, to make it easier on the mixing process.

2. Put all the cheeses, garlic, wine and Kirsch in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse briefly, until the mix is creamy but not too runny.  Scoop the cheese into a small container and store in the fridge.

The fromage fort can be used as a cold spread, but I prefer it spread over sourdough slices and grilled (broiled).  After a few days in the fridge, the alcohol flavours permeate through the cheeses, providing pleasant fondue flashbacks.

Burn, baby, burn…disco inferno…

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