I was reading Jacques Pépin’s The Apprentice when I first read about eggs Jeannette. Named after his mother and a tribute to his childhood, they are essentially deviled eggs pan-fried and served with a mustard dressing.
Frying the deviled eggs stuffed side down, a slight crispiness is developed that is similar to the crisp edges of a fried egg. The whole time in my head as I made these, Jacques Pépin’s declarative “beautifully browned” rang through my head. That means that you can make these suited to your taste, with varying degrees of browned doneness.
Here is a video of him making eggs Jeannette with his daughter Claudine: (one who watches him can’t help but like him immediately – I did!)
Often I will be inspired by a description of food or a recipe in a book I am reading, but rarely have I made it and eaten it at the same time I’m reading the book that inspired it. But it is wonderful, too, to stop reading a book, get up, and make the food described with the recipe given. Then, when it is ready, to return to the book with the food made. It nearly makes book reading an interactive experience.
There are at least two or three other recipes included in his memoir that I’d like to give a shot at.
If you haven’t read The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen, I fully recommend it. I’ve been regaling people with stories from it as I read it and since, as I often do with anything I enjoy! (Because I read a lot and recommend frequently, I have set up a page with my favourite foodie and culinary books including cookbooks and SCD resources. It’s not yet completed as I’m still adding to it.) It is a lovely read and M. Pépin’s charm and wit will sweep you off your feet. As I mentioned on Twitter, I found myself falling in love with it when I was only three chapters in! Whether or not you’re familiar with him and his cooking, it’s a great read and if you’re not familiar, it is a marvelous introduction.
Jacques Pépin’s Eggs Jeannette
Slightly adapted from The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin
6 eggs (original recipe reccommends jumbo size, though I used medium)
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (original recipe uses parsley, I substituted with cilantro I had on hand)
2 tbsp. coconut milk or other non-dairy milk
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
Leftover filling from eggs (at least 2 tablespoons)
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard (if you don’t have Dijon, any mustard will do)
Hard-boiling eggs: Put eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Once the water’s come to a boil, turn off heat (keeping pot on the element) and put a timer on for 9 minutes. Drain the hot water and fill the pot with cold water and ice to cool the eggs for 15 minutes.
Once cooled, peel eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the yolks into a bowl and add garlic, cilantro or parsley, coconut milk, and salt and pepper. Mash with a fork.
Fill the egg halves with the stuffing, saving at least 2 tablespoons worth for the dressing. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the eggs, stuffing side down, for 2 to 3 minutes or until, as M. Pépin says, “beautifully browned”. (When heating the oil, wait until the pan is hot enough before adding the eggs. They should begin to sizzle upon contact.) Use a flipper to transfer the eggs to a plate, stuffing side up.
Dressing: Mix the leftover stuffing with the olive oil, water, and mustard until completely mixed.
Coat the eggs with the dressing and serve. (You can also serve the eggs individually, per person, and coat the eggs per serving – generally about 1 teaspoon of dressing per egg half.)