It's a friendly year in cookbooks. A year to get to know the author, a year when the writer who has led us through the depths of Mexico and across the buttery breadth of France, or who has whisked us through half-hour meals, now stops and invites us home for a leisurely look through the family album.

In this year following a rash of scandals over stealing recipes, the aftermath is likely to be more friendly, too. We are being offered the recipes taught at mother's knee, those that sound as if they have been painstakingly restored from yellowed and faded scraps of paper. These are not recipes that could have been borrowed or plagiarized; rather, they had to have been evoked.

It makes sense. If we have followed the bookstores' cookbook shelves at all, and if our restraint has faltered in the least, we are bound to have more than enough recipe books to fill out any menu. We have plenty that tell us what to cook and how to cook.

This season we are going to learn why to cook it. Having benefitted from the scholarship of authors such as Diana Kennedy, who documented and educated us in the intricacies of Mexican cuisine, we are invited into Kennedy's heart and memories, to glimpse the kind of food she grew up with, the food she prepares for her own comfort and keeps in stock for her own afternoon tea. "You've got to cook with your heart in it," says Kennedy; who adds ominously that you also have to take your time about it. Here are a dozen of this season's best cookbooks, and best holiday gifts, most of them even more intriguing to read from than to cook from. Spell Cook with a K

"Nothing Fancy" by Diana Kennedy (The Dial Press, $18.95): Even the descriptions of rollicking attempts to test the traditional English recipes of her childhood in an ecological house of adobe high in the Mexican mountains are enough to make this book rival any novel as "a good read." Kennedy has cooked with rain water stored in a tank, an aquaculture tank raided by the house cat, storm-tossed power lines and a stove fueled by methane gas from the digester under the cow shed. Who could doubt, from this revelation, that this is a cook of strong opinions and well-defined tastes? Who could resist knowing what is the "Equipment I Simply Cannot Do Without?" Or seeking such a wise cook's advice on making crust flaky.

Keep in mind, though, that "Nothing Fancy" might be just as aptly titled "Nothing Simple." Not that one couldn't whip up many of her dishes in a hurry. But she counsels patience instead. What is important in Kennedy's book is less the measurements than the methods: Her mushroom soup is hers because the mushrooms are first baked long and slowly until very brown to render thick, dark juice. Her roasted potatoes are initially parboiled, then oven-cooked in fat that has been first thoroughly heated. Her pa te' takes five days and pressing through a fine sieve, which even she admits "is terribly hard work"; and the fact that her beef muzzle salad takes four days to get ready is only the beginning of its problems.

Kennedy believes in cooking with thorough care, preparing things in stages, and letting them mature -- five days not only for pa te's, but also for a meringue cake. It is a book for people who savor the uniqueness of making one's own elder flower champagne or a sponge cake of duck eggs. It is a book for people who treasure the fact that such recipes may never see the light of day again.

"In Madeleine's Kitchen" by Madeleine Kamman (Atheneum. $19.95): "I became controversial," writes Madeleine Kamman in a rare understatement. In her introduction she relates the tortured progress that led her from France to Boston to France and back to the United States again, and weaves into it a history of the rise and fall of nouvelle cuisine. What emerge are her own strong opinions and personal style: she has pared her stock needs to golden veal stock -- a gelatinous base on which to build many meat sauces and braises -- and a less powerful white stock. What she covers is encyclopedic: her fish fumet discourse alone is a five-page textbook of choices of fish for fumet, choices of wine for fumet, time involved for its preparations and basic portions for fumet, plus emergency fish fumet for landlocked areas.

Kamman is driven to educate; she goes deeply into varieties of flours, and explains thoroughly why bread is sprayed with water while it bakes. She includes elaborate charts, as well as simple old-fashioned recipes that will revive the appetite of a serious cook burned out with trendiness: omelet with duck skins, a beaten white cheese called claqueret, a potently marinated fromage fort. She also manages to squeeze in those fashionable red peppers and balsamic vinegar, however, and stretches the Chinese influence to new lengths with both consomme' and noodles flavored with tea.

The book seems fleshed out with some repetitions, not only those tea-flavored dishes but an asparagus-smoked salmon theme also repeated as soup and as noodles. And Kamman slips into such esoterica as pineapple vinegar and avocado oil. No matter; Kamman is consummately helpful and understanding for any pa te' maker or novice saucier, explaining how to taste a sauce as well as how to make it. And her directness remains as refreshing as ever; has anyone else but Kamman ever admitted to a reader, "This sauce looks deceptively easy on paper"?

"Food for Friends" by Barbara Kafka (Harper & Row, $19.95): In the introduction by James Beard he enthusiastically -- and tactfully -- depicts Barbara Kafka's home cooking. "Oh, not that every meal there is absolute perfection: that would be boring. But when you go there you know you are getting food that she likes and thinks you will like," writes Beard.

And so goes the book. Not evenly but often enough exciting. It is a cookbook by and for a smart and savvy city cook. Kafka herself describes her preference for "more fun with less-demanding meals." And she has evolved a lighter, cleaner palate, preferring less cream and richness, brighter colors and fewer complicated sauces. Kafka shares not only her tastes and prejudices but her years of wisdom: Old eggs have less viscosity, lemons vary in their acidity, peppers in their pungency, she warns. She counsels against trussing birds for roasting because, "it seems to me illogical to force the thickest, longest-to-cook part of the bird up against the body of the bird," thus insulating the thighs and increasing their cooking time. And she doesn't mind that "the bird may look vaguely drunk and obscene but it will be properly roasted." She recommends a taste test to illustrate why she prefers kosher salt to table salt -- though only after 300 pages of text warns the reader, "If you substitute table salt for kosher salt, use much less."

As for the recipes, they begin with familiar international first courses: tapenade, tabbouleh, guacamole, plus her signature appetizer, roasted red pepper spread. And they range from innocuous to memorable. She presents examples of current trends such as focaccio, ravioli stuffed with duck or with clams and sausage, beurre blanc and new-style pizzas. The recipes are practical and worldy; this chatty book is full of ideas but certainly not a basic course. Most important, Kafka acts as dutch aunt if you want to know exactly what and how to do with caviar, smoked fish, oysters and clams -- this is a book for people being bred rather than born to the good life. Royal Imports

"The Cuisine of Fredy Girardet" by Fredy Girardet (Morrow, $17.95): It's practically impossible to get into this Swiss chef's restaurant any more, for Girardet's star is as high as one can rise. So you probably will have to be content with his cookbook. Which is not to say you will be content with the cooking you do from the book.

Girardet's brilliance, after all, is in his technique and sensitivity -- and in his ingredients -- not merely in the recipes themselves. Many are useless or outlandishly extravagant for a home cook: wild asparagus with truffle vinaigrette or rabbit livers and kidneys with morels and truffles. And the methods are laborious, time consuming, involve more steps than a home cook without a brigade of assistants might like to tackle; even a simple chicken fricassee is fried, then baked, then sauced. Most important, this is a book for confidant cooks who can fill in the steps that are glossed over, who don't need detailed descriptions of techniques.

But the rewards are grand. A salmon papillote with lime sauce is an explosion of flavor infusing meltingly supple salmon scallops, and braised chicken with endives and green peppercorns introduces you to endives as you never knew them before.

"The Cuisine of Normandy" by Marie-Blanche de Broglie with Harriet Zukas (Houghton Mifflin, $18.95): What would you expect from a cookbook written by a French princess who only began cooking seriously a decade ago? You would expect the likes of "Four Menus to Please Hunting Friends" and "Di ner au Robinet" inspired by her grandmother's grandmother, Madame Pommery, the inventor of dry champagne, who in turn inspired a lunch with a crystal faucet at each guest's place to pour forth an endless supply of champagne.

But wait. This patrician tradition turned out some superb recipes such as Jambonettes de Volaille, the most elegant of boned chicken breasts stuffed with julienned vegetables and chicken mousseline; and very easy and delicious Stuffed Baked Potatoes Camembert. Guess the Guests

"The Gold and Fizdale Cookbook" by Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale (Random House, $19.95): I am wary of cookbooks that make much of whom the authors cooked for and with. Thus, once Alice B. Toklas had been evoked in the second paragraph and a chapter had been titled "Cooking with Balanchine", this cookbook had a lot to prove to me. What it proved is the Gold and Fizdale were endowed with talents other than musical.

Flair and taste weave through this book, with ideas such as instant cold pure'ed vegetable soups made simply by putting still-frozen vegetables and cold liquid with seasonings in the blender; and similar instant fruit sherbets of home-frozen fruits pure'ed still frozen with lemon, sugar, liqueur and perhaps some egg or cream. Otherwise, the recipes span the world, from Michel Gue'rard's chocolate mousse cake to Chinese steamed eggplant, to Stuffed Fish Scheherazade, which the authors accurately describe thus: "A distinguished publisher once told us that if one great recipe can be found in a cookbook, it is well worth its price. This, we like to think, is one of those recipes."

"Eating Together" by Lillian Hellman and Peter Feibleman (Little, Brown, $16.95): Surely nobody bought "Heartburn" for its recipes, and so with "Eating Together." Do you like biography? Evocation? Affectionate recollections? This book is like a rainy day in the attic with somebody's wonderful old letters and albums. But as for a cookbook, it is divided into "Her Way: Lillian Hellman" and "His Way: Peter Feibleman." Having tried her way, I hope his way works better. America the Bountiful

"An American Folklife Cookbook" by Joan Nathan (Schocken, $18.95): Every family should have a storyteller, the one who passes down the family history. And every culinary tradition should have a Joan Nathan to seek out the endangered species among cooks and recipes and set their stories down on paper so they can be passed down to future generations.

Fortunately, Nathan has done this just at a time that American cooking is beautiful to the world and to its people. So to balance the New American we have this Grassroots cooking to give it backbone. Nathan has captured the story of Washington's Florida Avenue Grill -- and its salmon cakes and fried chicken. She has Mrs. Kitching's crab cakes and oyster puffs from Smith Island in the Chesapeake. And the extraordinary St. Mary's County stuffed ham. You'll meet loggers and firemen and fisherman. You'll be reminded that the American tradition sometimes strays into the supermarket for canned mushroom soup and Tang, but if you stick to the pure untarnished country food rather than the city slicker stuff, you'll find "An American Folklife Cookbook" an historic treasure. For the Coffee Table

"Giuliano Bugialli's Foods of Italy" by Giuliano Bugialli, with photographs by John Dominis (Stewart, Taboori & Chang, $45): It doesn't matter that the recipes are too often obvious or outrageous (stuffed swiss chard stems?) or not worthy of their effort. You probably wouldn't cook from this book unless you had a photocopy machine any way, for you certainly wouldn't want to risk staining the pages. It is a spectacularly beautiful book, with photographs stunning enough to substitute for food anyway. And the text, as always with Bugialli, is a fascination of lore and geography. But above all, John Dominis' photographs show not only how food looks, but how it smells and tastes.

"Produce: A Fruit and Vegetable Lovers' Guide" by Bruce Beck, with photographs by Andrew Unangst (Friendly Press. $35): If only it looked as good in the supermarket as it does on these pages, produce would ease out everything else in your basket. This is a lovely book with straightforward -- and gorgeous -- photographs that let you really see what fresh dates or fiddleheads look like, or brussels sprouts on the stem. Along with these pretty, dewy depictions are no recipes, but a few paragraphs on fruits' and vegetables' habits and uses, tips on what to look for, what to avoid and how to store, plus seasonal charts. No, this is not a book you need; it is one to have when you can't resist another on your shelf. And the Sequels

You've read their work on these pages and now you can find them anew on the bookshelves:

"Glorious Gifts from Your Kitchen" by Lisa Yockelson (Dutton. $16.95): Yockelson invites you to stay home in your warm kitchen rather than venture into the shopping center to fill your gift list this year. Your offering can be something as simple as mulled wine spices or as elaborate as nearly a dozen fruitcakes, these varied with lemon, coconut, apricots or carrots. Of course, you could just give the book, and encourage a cooking friend to explore it by seasons -- Spring Delights, Summer Feasting and Harvesting -- so that next year you might find its bounty in your own stocking.

"To the King's Taste" by Lorna Sass (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, $11.95): Fed up with kiwis? Sass helps you find refreshment for stomach and soul in Richard II's book of feasts, its recipes modernized for today's kitchens. So perfumed was that medieval past! Consider almonds steeped in broth and honey, figs and raisins pure'ed in sherry, and roasted capons with a black sauce of verjuice, grains of paradise, aniseed and ginger. This is a book at least as much fun in the reading as in the eating. CARROT AND CORIANDER SOUP (4 to 5 servings)

The final garnish is crunchy and pure Mexican. FOR THE SOUP: 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 scallions, finely chopped, with most of the green leaves 1 small (2-ounce) potato, peeled and finely chopped 3/4 pound carrots, trimmed, scraped and julienned 2 heaping tablespoons roughly chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), leaves and tender stalks 4 cups well-seasoned chicken broth Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste FOR THE GARNISH: 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chile serrano or other hot fresh green chili if serrano is not available

Melt butter in a saucepan, add scallions, potato, carrots and coriander, and saute' gently without browning for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add broth and cook over a medium flame until vegetables are just cooked but not too soft, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, take out about 1/3 cup of the carrots and set aside. Blend the rest of the vegetables in the broth until smooth and return to saucepan with unblended carrots. Adjust seasoning and cook at a low simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper and pass dishes of garnish for each person to help himself al gusto.

(From "Nothing Fancy" by Diana Kennedy, The Dial Press) PASTEL ALEMAN (German Cake)

It is best to make this cake at least five days before eating it. Like the Meringue Layer Cake, it seems to last forever -- you can even freeze it and it is just as delicious when thawed. To fully appreciate the contrasting textures -- from the crunchy outside to the firm chocolate-cream filling -- it is best to serve this cake in thin slices.

FOR THE CAKE: 1/2 pound unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan and baking sheet 1/2 pound (1 cup) sugar 1/2 pound unsweetened cooking chocolate About 6 dozen ladyfingers 1 cup dark Jamaican rum 4 egg whites, at room temperature FOR THE CREAM COATING: 1/2 pound unsalted butter 1/2 pound (1 cup) sugar 4 egg yolks FOR THE TOPPING: 1 cup sugar 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted and roughly chopped

Put the butter, sugar and chocolate for the cake in a double boiler and stir until the sugar has melted. Cook over a low flame for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Set aside to cool.

While this is cooling, butter well a cake pan, 9-by-5-by-3-inches -- the size is important. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with ladyfingers and crumble some of them to fill in the gaps. Sprinkle the ladyfingers well with some of the rum and set aside. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Pour half of the mixture into the pan. Cover with another layer of ladyfingers sprinkled with the rum, pour in the rest of the chocolate mixture, and top with ladyfingers and crumbs so that no chocolate is visible. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

Carefully unmold the cake onto a large platter -- you may have to place it briefly in hot water, but take care not to leave it too long, as you do not want the chocolate to melt.

Put the butter and sugar for the coating in a double boiler and stir well. The sugar will melt a little, but the texture should be slightly grainy. Set aside to cool and allow to thicken a little, but it must still be soft. Beat in the egg yolks one by one and continue beating for 1 minute more. Put the mixture in the refrigerator to cool off a little so that it can just be spread -- neither too hard nor too soft. Using a palette knife, spread the mixture evenly over the top and sides of the cake in a thick layer. Return to the refrigerator for the coating to become firm.

To make the topping: In a heavy frying pan, melt the sugar over a low flame, then raise the flame and cook until the sugar is caramelized. Stir in the walnuts and put the mixture in a thin layer over the baking sheet. Set aside to cool and harden.

Break up the brittle roughly and put in a clean tea towel. Pound with a hammer until it is broken up into small pieces. (I do not advise a machine for this, as the texture is so important and you do not want it pulverized.) Press the cracked brittle onto the top and sides of the cake. Cover well with foil and place in the refrigerator for about 3 days to ripen. When ready to serve, cut into very thin slices.

(From "Nothing Fancy" by Diana Kennedy, The Dial Press) RAMEKINS D'HUITRES DE BELON AU GEWURZTRAMINER (An Oyster Stew Prepared with Gewurztraminer) (6 servings)

The most delicious little oyster stew ever. This can be made with any good oyster but tastes best with belon oysters. 36 belon oysters, or other oysters 1/2 pint regular oysters, chopped (can be bought shelled in small container) About 1/2 cup gewurztraminer About 1/2 cups fish fumet (substitute clam juice) 2 shallots, chopped fine 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly chopped tarragon leaves or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried 2/3 cup creme fraiche or 1/2 cup reduced whipping cream and 1/4 cup sour cream, mixed as needed Salt if needed Freshly ground pepper Chopped parsley A dash of hot pepper sauce

Shuck the belon oysters. Remove and keep the "scallop" that attaches each oyster to its shell. Drain oysters in a stainless steel drum sieve placed over a bowl to collect their liquid. Set aside.

Place pint of regular chopped oysters in a large saucepan. Add reserved belon oyster "scallops." Measure the amount of oyster liquor dripped from the belon oysters; add equal amounts of gewurztraminer and fish fumet (to triple the quantity). Add shallots and tarragon leaves and cook, reducing together by two-thirds. Strain into a clean saucepan and discard contents of strainer, overcooked oysters and all.

Blend the obtained liquor with cre me frai che or reduced heavy cream mixed with sour cream. Bring to a boil. Add belon oysters to boiling mixture. Immediately remove from heat. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper from the mill. Add parsley and hot pepper sauce and serve promptly in large ramekins.

(From "In Madeleine's Kitchen" by Madeleine Kamman, Atheneum) UNE DAUSSADE PAS ORDINAIRE (A Daussade in a Different Manner) (6 servings)

The daussade is the cream, vinegar and scallion dressing that the cooks of the northern provinces of France (Artois and Picardie) like to use as a dressing for their green salads. Having extended the idea considerably in a tongue and roquefort salad, my daussade was declared "pas ordinaire" (unusual) by an older aunt, who is considered quite a cook. Use as a first course salad. FOR THE SALAD: 2 heads of boston lettuce 5 ounces smoked tongue, in 1 piece 2 ounces crumbled roquefort cheese FOR THE DRESSING: 2/3 cup whipping cream 3 tablespoons cider vinegar Salt Freshly ground pepper 1/3 cup sliced scallions (white and green parts only)

Clean and dry the lettuce leaves. Dice the tongue into 1/3-inch cubes and coarsely crumble the roquefort cheese. Alternate lettuce and garnishes in a glass bowl.

Mix whipping cream, vinegar, salt and pepper; cream will thicken immediately. At serving time, add scallions. Let stand for only 5 minutes.

Toss the salad at the table by pouring the dressing over the greens and mixing well. Serve immediately; any waiting provokes excessive wilting of the lettuce.

(From "In Madeleine's Kitchen" by Madeleine Kamman, Atheneum) MARINATED, ROASTED BABY EGGPLANTS (8 servings) 2 pounds baby eggplants, or small Japanese eggplants, or long, thin Chinese eggplants 1/2 cup fruity olive oil 1/3 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup vegetable oil 6-8 medium-size cloves garlic, peeled

Wash the eggplants. Cut each in half lenghthwise, leaving the stem attached. With the skin side down, use a paring knife to score the flesh diagonally; criss-cross to form a diamond pattern. Cut as deep as possible without piercing the skin.

In a food processor, blend the olive oil, soy sauce, vegetable oil and garlic. Pour the marinade into a deep non-aluminum baking dish. Place the eggplants in the baking dish, cut side down. Marinate at least overnight -- up to 2 days is fine -- in the refrigerator. Before roasting, let the eggplant come to room temperature.

Roast eggplant in marinade for 20 minutes in a 250-degree oven. Turn eggplant over and roast an additional 20-25 minutes until softened.

Let eggplant cool in liquid. Remove from liquid with a slotted spoon and serve at room temperature.

(From "Food for Friends" by Barbara Kafka, Harper & Row) COUSCOUS RISOTTO (8 servings) 2 small or 1 large yellow onion 5 medium cloves garlic 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter 1 tablespoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon good curry powder 2 cups instant or regular couscous 5 cups chicken stock 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper

Peel the onions and cut them into 1-inch chunks. With a heavy knife or pot smash the garlic cloves and remove the skins. Chop the onions and garlic fine by hand or place together in a food processor and, with on-off pulses, chop fine.

In a 10-inch heavy, deep pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic mixture until transparent but not brown. Add cumin and curry, and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add couscous and cook until all fat and liquid are absorbed.

Begin adding chicken stock in 1/2-cup increments, stirring and waiting each time until all the stock has been absorbed. Add salt and then pepper to taste. Be careful with the salt if you are using canned stock, as it will probably already contain salt.

When preparing this recipe, you may want to have extra stock on hand, since different kinds of couscous may absorb different amounts of stock. This dish reheats well. To do so, you may need to add a little extra stock so as not to dry it out. (From "Food for Friends" by Barbara Kafka, Harper & Row) ZUCCHINI CUSTARD (8 servings) 2 pounds small, firm zucchini, peeled and cut into 2-inch long, 1/4-inch thick strips 1 1/2 cups whipping cream 3 large eggs 1/3- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese Freshly ground black pepper

Bring about 6 quarts of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the zucchini and let the water return to a boil. Boil for 30 seconds, then drain well. Spread the zucchini in a single layer on kitchen towels and let dry for several hours or all day.

Mix the zucchini with the cream, eggs, cheese and pepper. Pour the mixture into a 9- or 10-inch pie plate or ceramic quiche pan. Place on a baking sheet in the lower third of a 450-degree oven and bake for 40 minutes or until puffed, brown, custardy and set. Serve immediately. (From "Food for Friends" by Barbara Kafka, Harper & Row) SALMON PAPILLOTES WITH LIME SAUCE (2 servings) 1 salmon fillet (about 3/4 pound) cut from the center 2 1/2 tablespoons butter Salt and pepper Pinch cayenne Scant 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root, optional 1 lime 1 small shallot 1 1/2 tablespoons port, plus a few drops for finishing 1 1/2 tablespoons whipping cream

Lay the salmon fillet on a work surface and, holding your hand flat on the top of the fillet, cut it in half horizontally with a thin sharp knife. Cut 2 feet from a roll of 15-inch-wide sulfurized paper (such cooking parchment is available at kitchenware shops). Round off corners to make an oval about 24 inches by 15 inches. Fold in half crosswise and open it again. Butter half the paper from the fold to within 1 1/2 inches of edge, using 1 teaspoon of the butter; this will become the (inside) bottom of the papillote. Put salmon slices side by side on buttered part of the paper and season them with salt, pepper, a small pinch of cayenne, and, if you wish, 1/4 teaspoon of grated ginger. Now grate zest from 1/4 of the lime over them and sprinkle a few drops of lime juice on each salmon slice. Fold sulfurized paper over fish. Don't let the paper stick to the top of the fish, and try to enclose as much air as possible when you seal the papillote. Roll up edges and then press flat, making a sealed hem. Put the papillote on a large metal platter and set aside.

Chop the shallot and squeeze 2 tablespoons lime juice from the lime. In a small pan, soften the chopped shallot by cooking without browning in 2 teaspoons of the butter over low heat. Add the lime juice and port to the pan and over high heat reduce them by about half.

The final preparation of the sauce and cooking of the salmon should be managed so that neither sauce nor papillote must wait for the other. But since both demand attention, it may be better not to try to do them simultaneously. In this case, finish the sauce first and then proceed immediately to cook the salmon. If the papillote is kept waiting, it will collapse.

To finish the sauce, reheat the reduced port and lime mixture, add the cream, and bring to a boil. Now, over very low heat, whisk into the sauce the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Season with salt, pepper, a small pinch of cayenne, and just before serving, a few drops of port and, optionally, a little grated ginger. Put the metal platter with the papillote in a 525-degree oven and bake 3 minutes. It will inflate.

Rush the papillote to the table along with the sauce in a sauceboat. Open the papillote at the table, put the salmon on plates, and brush with the lime sauce.

(From "The Cuisine of Fredy Girardet" by Fredy Girardet, Morrow) BRAISED CHICKEN WITH ENDIVES AND GREEN PEPPERCORNS (4 servings) 3-pound chicken Salt and pepper 1 carrot 1/2 rib celery 1 shallot 2 pounds belgian endive 2 lemons 2 tablespoons peanut oil 13 tablespoons butter 1/4 onion 2 garlic cloves 1/3 cup port 1/3 cup chicken stock 1 tablespoon sugar 4 teaspoons green peppercorns, drained

Salt and pepper the chicken inside and out and truss it. Chop the carrot and the celery and cut the shallot in half. Cut the endives in triangular pieces by cutting diagonally, giving the endive a quarter turn, and cutting again. Continue rotating and cutting until the endives are all sliced. Separate the leaves and put them in a bowl. Squeeze 1/4 cup lemon juice.

Heat the oil in a roasting pan over high heat and when it's very hot add the chicken. Brown it on all sides. This should take around 10 minutes.

When the chicken is golden all over, remove it and pour the oil out of the pan. Replace it with 4 tablespoons of the butter and let it melt. Put the chicken back in the pan on its side and add the carrot, celery, shallot, onion and garlic. Roast the chicken in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, basting often with the pan juices and turning it carefully from one side to the other and finally onto its back so that it cooks on all sides. Be careful also to watch the oven so that it does not overheat and burn the butter or the vegetables. When the chicken is done, remove from the roasting pan and discard the fat but leave the vegetables in the pan.

Start to prepare the sauce by holding the chicken over the roasting pan and draining the juices from the inside of the bird into the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the roasting pan. Put the pan over medium heat and pour in the port. Let it boil while scraping the bottom of the pan firmly with a wooden spatula to get all the coagulated juices into the sauce. Add the chicken stock, bring the sauce back to a boil, and then strain it into a saucepan. Press the vegetables to get all their juices and discard the vegetables. Set the sauce aside for a few minutes while you prepare the endives.

Season the endives with the sugar, 3 pinches of salt, 10 turns of the pepper mill, and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Mix well. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter in each of two frying pans and add half the endive to each. Cook over high heat for 3 minutes, stirring two or three times. Remove to a heated serving plate.

Bring the sauce to a boil. Add the green peppercorns and the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and then thicken the sauce by whisking in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter.

Put the chicken, either whole or cut into quarters, on top of the endives on a heated serving platter. Coat the chicken very lightly with sauce and serve the rest of the sauce in a sauceboat.

(From "The Cuisine of Fredy Girardet" by Fredy Girardet, Morrow) JAMBONETTES DE VOLAILLE (Boned Stuffed Chicken Breasts) (4 servings) 3-3 1/2 pound chicken, with wing tips and neck removed and reserved FOR THE STOCK: Bones, wing tips, and neck from chicken 1 carrot, diced 1 onion, diced 1 stalk celery, diced 1 to 2 tablespoons butter Bouquet garni 1 chicken bouillon cube 1/2 pound green beans, washed and trimmed 1/2 pound carrots, peeled 2 tablespoons whipping cream Salt and freshly ground pepper 1 tablespoon oil 1 tablespoon butter FOR THE SAUCE: 5 shallots, minced 1/2 cup dry white wine

Bone the chicken: using a sharp knife, cut down the breastbone and against the ribcage to free the breast. Remove the wings, thighs, and drumsticks, cutting through the thigh joints. With your fingers, gently loosen the skin from the thigh and drumstick pieces, then pull the meat out of the skin. Save the skin. Remove the dark meat from the bones and put it in a food processor. Leave the breast meat attached to its skin. You will have two pieces.

Make the stock: Cut chicken carcass into several pieces. In a large saucepan, brown all bones, wing tips and neck, and diced vegetables in the butter, then cover with water. Add bouquet garni and bouillon cube and cook over moderate heat, skimming as necessary, until the stock is reduced by one-half. Strain and degrease liquid.

To assemble the dish: Slice beans lengthwise and cut carrots into julienned strips of about the same size. Blanch beans and carrots separately until they are almost tender, then refresh them in cold water.

Pure'e the dark chicken meat in the food processor and add enough cream to give it a smooth, light texture. Season it with salt and pepper. If you wish, poach a small amount of this mousseline mixture and check its consistency and seasoning.

Spread a layer of the mousseline over each breast of chicken; place a layer of carrots and beans on top, then cover them with the skin saved from the dark meat and tie them with string to form neat packages.

Brown the breast packages in a heavy skillet in the oil and butter and finish them in a 350-degree oven, 15 to 20 minutes.

To make the sauce: Remove the breasts from the skillet, pour off the fat, and lightly brown the shallots in the same pan. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce the liquid by three quarters again. Pure'e the sauce in a food processor or blender.

To serve: Slice the breasts crosswise, place them on a serving platter, and surround them with the sauce.

(From "The Cuisine of Normandy" by Princess Marie-Blanche de Broglie, Houghton Mifflin) POMMES DE TERRE MARIE BAREL (Stuffed Baked Potatoes with Camembert) (4 servings)

This recipe comes from the historic Ho tel de Dieppe in Rouen and is named for the farmer's wife who invented camembert cheeses in the second half of the 18th century. 4 medium baking potatoes, washed and dried 8 ounces camembert cheese 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons cream Freshly ground pepper Salt (optional) Melted butter

Bake the potatoes in a 425- to 450-degree oven until done, about 40 minutes. Remove rind from the camembert cheese and cut into small pieces. When the potatoes are done, cut a lengthwise slice off the top of each one and scoop out the pulp, taking care not to break the potato skins. Using a food processor or electric mixer, mix the hot potato pulp with the cheese, butter and cream. Season to taste with pepper; add salt if necessary. Stuff the potato shells with the filling, drizzle them with melted butter, and brown under the broiler for a few minutes to gratine'e them. Serve immediately.

(From "The Cuisine of Normandy" by Princess Marie-Blanche de Broglie, Houghton Mifflin) INSTANT ICED PEA SOUP (4-5 servings) 10-ounce package frozen peas 2 medium-size potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into chunks 2 cups beef or chicken broth (or 1 cup each) 1 cup light cream Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 2 tablespoons fresh mint or tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried, finely chopped

Do not defrost the peas. Keep the potatoes, broth and cream refrigerated. Break the frozen peas into chunks. Put the broth and the cream into a food processor, and add the peas and potatoes. Blend until you have a smooth pure'e. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve at once, sprinkled with chopped mint or tarragon.

(From "The Gold and Fizdale Cookbook" by Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale, Random House) STUFFED FISH SCHEHERAZADE (8 servings) 1/2 pound onions, peeled, havled, and sliced very thin 3 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for dish 1/2 cup dried currants 2-3 dried apricots, coarsely chopped 1/2 cup lemon juice 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped Salt and freshly ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, turmeric and saffron 1 tablespoon powdered coriander 4 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped (if unavailable, use 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, and increase the powdered coriander to 2-3 tablespoons) 4-5 pound striped bass or any other firm-fleshed fish, cleaned and with bones removed but left whole 3-4 lemons, thinly sliced 1/2 cup tomato sauce

In a heavy skillet over low heat, saute' the onions in the oil until translucent but not browned. In a small bowl, soak the currants and apricots in the lemon juice. When the onions are ready, add the currants and apricots, draining off and reserving the lemon juice. Add the walnuts, salt and pepper to taste, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron, and powdered and fresh coriander. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half the lemon juice.

Oil a baking dish. Lightly salt and pepper the fish, inside and out, and lay it in the baking dish on a row of half the lemon slices. Open the fish and fill it with the stuffing. (Any stuffing that does not fit easily into the fish can be baked wrapped in foil or in a small buttered baking dish at the same time as the fish, and served along with it.) Close the fish and fasten it with toothpicks or small skewers. Mix the remaining lemon juice with the tomato sauce and pour it over the fish. Lay a row of overlapping lemon slices along the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve hot, with parsleyed potatoes, or -- equally good -- at room temperature, with a rice salad.

Excellent served with stuffed mushrooms. A chilled muscadet or sancerre would be a fine accompaniment.

From "The Gold and Fizdale Cookbook" by Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale, Random House)