Bernard Pacaud’s Sweet Red Pepper Mousse

This recipe was given to my friend Veronica Ryback by Bernard Pacaud, chef-owner of L’Ambroisie in Paris, in 1984. Since then the restaurant has acquired a second and a third Michelin star and moved to the Place des Vosges. This mousse is suave in every way, surprisingly easy tomake, truly ambrosial. If you have a glut of peppers, you can freeze the finished mousse to thaw later in the refrigerator.

2 pounds very red bell peppers (about 8 peppers)
1½ cups chicken stock
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (Veronica’s interpolation)
1 cup heavy cream
Vegetable oil for mold

Roast the peppers under the broiler or on a grill, turning them as the skins blister and blacken. Let them cool, then
slip off the skins, pull out the stems and remove the seeds. Put the pepper flesh in a saucepan with the chicken stock.
Bring to a boil; cover and simmer until tender but still very red, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the
peppers, leaving all the liquid in the pan. Thoroughly purée the pepper flesh in a food processor or blender; there
should be about 2 cups. Scrape the pepper purée into a bowl and whisk in the gelatin.

Boil to reduce the reserved liquid in the pan to about ½ cup.

Stir the hot liquid into the gelatin mixture in the bowl. Season
to taste with salt and cayenne. Set the bowl aside to
cool but not chill, so the gelatin does not set.

In another bowl, whip the cream until it makes soft peaks.

Fold it into the pepper-gelatin mixture just until the streaks of white disappear.

Lightly smear vegetable oil on the inside of a 4-cup mold. Carefully pour the pepper mixture into the mold; cover
tightly with plastic wrap and chill it overnight. To serve, unmold the mousse onto a serving dish and garnish with greens. Serve it in thin slices.

Makes 8–12 servings.