Cooking from La Technique
Jacques Pépin has been my greatest teacher in the kitchen. I’m a home cook, constantly learning and re-learning. Pépin’s La Technique, an illustrated guide to the fundamental techniques of cooking, was published in 1976. My paperback copy has black and white photos and a formidable look. But the chef breaks down each step, explaining the all- important techniques. I took the good book down recently to learn how to make proper stuffed eggs, or as they are more elegantly called in French, Oeufs Mimosa.
To begin, and this is very important, you make proper hard-boiled eggs. Proper hard-boiled eggs do not have a green-gray line around the edge of the yolk. Proper hard-boiled eggs also have a beautiful consistency.
A basic technique to memorize by heart: lower eggs into boiling water, simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, remove and place in bowl of cold water.
Have you noticed how important the sieve is to French cooking? The key to the light texture of the filling is pushing the egg yolks through a sieve. It makes them fluffy.
And now, a basic proportion to remember: 1 tablespoon soft, unsalted butter for every 3 egg yolks. You can also use mayonnaise. But why not use butter?
I seasoned the egg and butter mixture with salt, pepper and fresh thyme from the garden. Saved some thyme flowers for decorating.
The piping bag is a technique I have yet to master. Jacques uses a fluted pastry bag. He fills up each white and tops it with two capers. I added purple thyme flowers.
The result: simple, yet rich and satisfying, with a little vinegar bite of the caper. Excellent party food. People are always happy to see a platter of oeufs mimosa.