cover image Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple

Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple

Jacques Pépin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35 (384p) ISBN 978-0-358-35255-6

Legendary chef Pépin pulls together “simple, speedy, sensible, smart” recipes in this keen outing. A mix of porcini mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and garlic steeped in oil can be used as a topping for pasta, a spread on a sandwich, or tossed with a salad. Almost every recipe includes a helpful tip, such as a prompt to line a wooden cutting board with plastic when slicing beets for borscht. Pépin makes liberal use of time-saving devices (baguette dough kneaded in the food processor makes for quick clean-up) and—perhaps surprisingly for Pépin’s fans—store-bought items, such as canned smoked oysters arrayed on a hummus of pureed canned black beans, while a cheese tart recipe calls for a frozen pie shell. Desserts include sponge cake layered with instant pudding blended with whipped cream, and a banana bread that is ready for the oven in under one minute. Though Asian-inspired dishes such as stir-fried rice noodles appear, it’s European classics that shine: tomatoes Provençale with browned bread crumbs and Belgian mussels with a generous dose of onion are both standouts. Inexperienced home cooks and those in a hurry to put dinner on the table will appreciate this friendly, accessible collection. (Oct.)