Yup, the sun sets early here in Toronto now we are back to winter time. And so begins the 5 months of a very narrow window on the weekends in which to take photos for my blog. Sigh. In any case, we can hardly complain since the temperature this past weekend was gorgeous – blue skies and sun and not too cold. Time for one last salad before settling in for comfort food for the next few months…
What better way to say goodbye to the sun than with a salad by Jacques Pépin? More specifically, a Composed Salad of Greens, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Pecans. To celebrate the release of Jacques Pépin’s new cookbook, Essential Pépin, Thomas Allen are challenging Canadian home chefs and bloggers to cook up their own French meals with recipes from the book with the chance to win a KitchenAid® Artisan Series Stand Mixer, courtesy of KitchenAid® Canada!
In his more than sixty years as a chef, Jacques Pépin has earned a reputation as a champion of simplicity. His recipes are classics. They find the shortest, surest route to flavour, avoiding complicated techniques. Now, in a book that celebrates his life in food, the world’s most famous cooking teacher winnows his favourite recipes from the thousands he has created, streamlining them even further. Recipes include Onion Soup Lyonnaise-Style, which Jacques enjoyed as a young chef while bar-crawling in Paris; Linguine with Clam Sauce and Vegetables, a frequent dinner chez Jacques; Grilled Chicken with Tarragon Butter, which he makes indoors in winter and outdoors in summer; Five-Peppercorn Steak, his spin on a bistro classic; Mémé’s Apple Tart, which his mother made every day in her Lyon restaurant; and Warm Chocolate Fondue Soufflé, part cake, part pudding, part soufflé, and pure bliss. Essential Pépin spans the many styles of Jacques’s cooking: homey country French, haute cuisine, fast food Jacques-style, and fresh contemporary American dishes. Many of the recipes are globally inspired, from Mexico, across Europe, or the Far East. This truly is the essential Pépin.
This salad is definitely simple – greens topped with apple slices, goat cheese and caramelized pecans, dressed with a very simple vinaigrette. I added some dried cranberries for colour also.
I loved this, though I was a little heavy-handed with the lemon that the apples were soaked in (I guess to avoid them turning brown), adding a dash of this to the dressing, meaning it was a little off in terms of the acidity balance. But no matter. The sweet of the apple, the tart of the goat cheese and the slight spice from the chili caramelized pecans made this a delightful light lunch. It felt so luxurious eating this salad in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday in November – definitely a lot of flavour for not much prep time. Pépin truly IS the master of simple dishes full of flavour.
Stay tuned for two more instalments of the Pépin menu over the next few weeks and read more about the contest on Facebook.