86-year-old Pépin can slice and dice with the best – I’ve seen him turn garlic and salt into paste in just a few seconds with just a knife – but he also loves refreshing abbreviations. He has demonstrated a myriad of time-saving techniques on his numerous public television shows, including my favorite “Fast Food My Way” series and its sequel. In his latest cookbook, Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple, an update of an earlier work, Pépin continues to spread the gospel of effective cooking made fast by smart choices. He writes about his love for the microwave, pressure cooker, toaster and food processor, all of which save time in the kitchen.
Just because you can hand chop a mountain of vegetables faster than the average cook doesn’t mean you want them.
The recipe that caught my eye in “Quick & Simple” is exactly what the book’s title promises: a light soup that uses water, not broth, to present the vegetables, and a food processor, not a knife, to do cut it thin enough that it will soften in 15 or 20 minutes. You use the same food processor (without bothering to clean it) to puree parsley, garlic, and a little olive oil into a living paste that you stir into the soup just before serving.
On the threshold of spring, when the days can still be fresh, it makes for a calming lunch or dinner with a side of crusty bread to dip in.
The recipe also has a variety of lessons about how to use everything you have, spice it up at the right time, make flavors glow – and be ready to use all the tools you need to Bring dinner to the table in a flash.
And that fits in with Pépin’s reputation as perhaps the best cookery teacher in the world, which he lives up to year after year not only with his books and YouTube videos, but also with his foundation, which supports communal kitchens that offer culinary training to adults with high employment barriers. To support the work of the foundation, you can become a member and gain access to content such as two web-based “books” containing a total of 100 recipes and videos from some of the country’s most renowned chefs – including Pépin, of course.
Storage: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months without the herb and garlic side dish. Thaw and reheat on the stove or in the microwave and add the side dish just before serving.
- 1/2 medium onion (about 4 ounces), peeled and cut into pieces
- 1 rib celery (about 2 ounces)
- 4 spring onions, cut
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large carrot (about 4 ounces), cut and scrubbed
- 1 zucchini (about 6 ounces), trimmed
- 1 small turnip (about 3 ounces), scrubbed
- 1 kale kale (about 4 ounces)
- 1 to 2 rust-red potatoes (8 ounces total), scrubbed
- One (15 ounce) can drain and rinse off with no salt added marine or cannellini beans
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of fine sea salt and more to taste
- 7 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and more to taste
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup lightly wrapped fresh parsley or basil leaves, or a mixture
- Freshly ground black pepper
Put in a food processor with a cutting blade and process onion, celery, and green onions. (Alternatively, you can roughly chop them by hand.)
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the cut vegetables and sauté for about 3 minutes until tender
In the meantime, halve or quarter the carrots, courgettes, turnips, cabbage and potatoes lengthways (so narrow that they go through the shaft of the food processor) and cut into thin slices with the processor. (Alternatively, you can cut them into thin slices by hand.)
Put the vegetables, beans, salt and water in the stockpot, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are very soft and the soup is aromatic. Stir in lemon juice, season to taste and add more salt and / or lemon juice if necessary.
While the soup is boiling, place the food processor on the cleaver. Combine the garlic and herbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the bowl and puree until smooth. (Alternatively, you can finely chop the garlic and herbs by hand and stir together with the oil.)
Spread the soup on the serving bowls, cover each with a generous drop of the herb mixture, season with the pepper and serve hot.
Calories: 215; Total fat: 10 g; Saturated fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 518 mg; Carbohydrates: 27 g; Dietary fiber: 6 g; Sugar: 4 g; Protein: 7 g.