Food Friday: “JAN: A Breath of French Air”

This Friday, we’re so excited to share with you a recipe from JAN: A Breath of French Air. This new cookbook from Penguin Random House South Africa is so beautifully presented that you have to see it yourself to believe it. It’s thoroughly illustrated with full color, striking images of Jan Henrick van der Westhuizen‘s restaurant and food on almost every page. It was extremely difficult to choose just one recipe from the many delicious ones you’ll find within, but we did it! Read on to learn all about the book, watch a short video featuring Jan, his restaurant, and his food, and learn how to cook like a Michelin star chef at home!

About the Book

9781432306083JAN – A Breath of French Air is a memoir and celebration of the renowned Michelin-star eatery JAN, a South African restaurant in the south of France.

The restaurant is a showcase of South Africa’s tradition of hospitality, transported from a farm in rural South Africa to the glamorous French Riviera. JAN is proof that dreams can be lived and how a love for what you do can transform humble ingredients into a masterpiece.

Each chapter captures the mood and inspiration of what is served at JAN, and the collection of over 90 recipes covers everything from locally baked breads, amuse bouche, and mouth-watering main course meat and fish dishes, to what the chefs eat after a long night’s service in a hot kitchen.

Check out this video for some beautiful images of JAN (the restaurant), Jan Hendrick and his staff, and some of the food Jan prepares at work in his kitchen:

Doesn’t that make you hungry for more?! Well, we aim to please here, so check out this recipe from JAN: A Breath of French Air. Tomato and Crab Salad with Basil Pesto is the perfect summertime side to add to any meal. I can’t wait to make this at my next BBQ. Here’s how:

Tomato and Crab Salad with Basil Pesto

Serves: Serves 4
Difficulty: Easy
Prep time: 20 min + 2 hr chilling
Cooking time: 0 min


Mixture of fresh tomatoes, washed and quartered
100 g buffallo mozzarella cheese

Crab Salad
45 ml crème fraîche
15 ml wholegrain mustard
Juice of 1/2 lime
250 g cooked crab meat (canned, fresh or thawed)
10 ml minced chives
5 ml green Tabasco sauce
Olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Basil Pesto
1 clove garlic, peeled
Sea salt
Large bunch basil, leaves picked and washed
60 g pine nuts
45 ml extra virgin olive oil
60 g Parmesan cheese, grated
Ground black pepper


Mix all the ingredients for the crab salad in a large mixing bowl and stir well. Season to taste and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To make the basil pesto, bash the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt. Add the basil leaves and pine nuts and crush to a coarse paste. Add the olive oil and stir in the Parmesan, adding a little water if you would like it runnier. Continue until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble the salad, use a pastry brush to paint a thick line of basil pesto across the centre of each plate. Use a small mould of your choice and create two discs of the crab salad. Mix the tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and toss until well covered. Arrange the tomatoes on the basil pesto between the crab salad and top with pieces of buffalo mozzarella. Garnish with fresh herbs.

JAN salad
Photo and all recipe text from pages 78 & 79 of JAN

Doesn’t that look amazing?! I know I’m gonna test out this recipe as soon as possible (and I’ll share pictures when I do!). If you test out this salad during your weekend festivities, let us know how it turned out in the comments.

Have a wonderful Father’s Day Weekend!


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