Jacques Pépin is a French culinary master who has been gracing audiences worldwide with expert cooking techniques for decades. We recently connected with Pépin in an exclusive interview with Tasting Table to celebrate the launch of his newest cookbook "Cooking My Way," and during the discussion, he shared his tricks for cooking with efficiency -- specifically his preference for using certain canned items over fresh.
Some might assume that a trained chef and cooking superstar would always opt for fresh ingredients in the kitchen, but Pépin makes the case that it's not always the best option, especially when you're cooking with clams. Pépin's biggest hesitation about preparing fresh clams is how easy it is to overcook them. "If you cook [clams] for a minute, maybe a minute and a half, they will still be very tender and good. But if you cook them for five minutes, they turn into pieces of rubber," he explains. Canned clams have been cooked for just the right amount of time so the texture is nice and supple, making them immediately ready for use in your next recipe.
The Magic Of Canned Goods
Canned clams aren't the only canned goods Pépin is an advocate for. At home, he also frequently uses canned produce, specifically canned beans and canned tomatoes, as both enable him to prepare meals quickly and efficiently. When making soup, Pépin regularly reaches for canned beans to add a little heft to his stock. "It's easy to use a can of beans like this because [the beans] are cooked — they're ready for you," he notes.
We're living in something of a golden age for canned goods because it's finally relatively easy to purchase any number of canned items that are BPA-free and that also adhere to a reduced sodium diet. Additionally, there are many specialty items now available canned, such as chicken bouillon and foie gras, which enable cooks to prepare meals at home with international ingredients.
Gone are the days when canned goods were dismissed as less healthy alternatives. While there are some ingredients like green vegetables that are still more nutritious when prepared fresh, using canned goods dramatically reduces your cooking time and may lead to the consumption of more vegetables because of how easy it is to use them.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.