Jacques Pépin's Tips For Repurposing Leftover Bread - Exclusive

Jacques Pépin's over 30 cookbooks are filled with recipes that are immensely useful, deeply insightful, and often quite surprising in their simplicity and ease. In celebration of his latest cookbook, "Cooking My Way," Pépin joined Tasting Table for an exclusive interview to discuss the necessity of preserving time and resources in the kitchen. During our conversation, he told us about his habit of using up leftovers in his home kitchen — an exercise in culinary creativity as well as a good way to minimize food waste — and he shared some guidance on what to do with all of your leftovers.

"I never [waste] leftovers," he explained. "I always [make] what my wife used to call a 'fridge soup.' I open the refrigerator and [see that] I have a wilted salad and a piece of carrot and an onion and this and that — I will boil that with some chicken stock or water and finish it with some pasta and all that to make a soup." But what if the odds and ends in your fridge are more humble — for instance, a loaf of bread rather than things you can easily throw into soup? Fortunately, Pépin also had an excellent recommendation that transforms scraps of bread into a sumptuous meal by turning them into a savory pancake.

How to prepare a savory pancake

Of all the leftover ingredients we've found ourselves staring down in the fridge, a loaf of old bread is easy to view as fairly limited in terms of culinary possibilities. Of course, you can chop the loaf and toast the pieces to turn them into croutons, or you can crumble it and add your homemade breadcrumbs to a batter for meatballs, but what if there was a more exciting meal to be had? Jacques Pépin's vision for leftover bread is exactly that. His simple savory pancake recipe ensures you get the most flavor and fulfillment out of that last half of the loaf, transforming it into the centerpiece of your meal while utilizing only a few kitchen staples.

"[If] I have some leftover bread, which often I have ... I cut it into little pieces and soak it with a bit of milk to soften it and add an egg to it and some herb and some onion, maybe garlic. You can do a beautiful pancake with that in a skillet," Pépin told us. "It's cheap. It's delicious. You can serve that by itself or with a bit of sour cream or whatever. It's important to use leftovers."