One of the most memorable dishes I had in Spain was also one of the simplest — two eggs, over easy, alongside a mound of piperade and a few thin slices of wonderful Spanish ham. I thought about this dish of fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers for months afterwards. It wasn't just the fact that I was eating it in Spain; it was also the eggs. They were rich, creamy, and flavorful, and their bright orange yolks stood up soldier-tall.
When I first visited Marin Sun Farms a couple years ago, I bought a dozen eggs, cooked two over-easy, and as soon as I tasted them, I was yanked right back to that moment in Spain.
Soon we'll be entering that time of year when chickens traditionally produce fewer eggs due to shorter days. So in honor of the chicken's rest cycle, here's a recipe for a sort of piperade-meets-ratatouille I threw together the other night for dinner and enjoyed with some of the last pastured eggs.
Piperade is a traditional Basque dish made with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. It can be served as a side dish, or accompanied by something heartier, like ham or eggs to make it a main dish. This version takes inspiration from its traditional roots, and also makes the most of late-summer farmers market produce, like zucchini, squash, and tomatoes.
This recipe calls for a roasted pepper, and I highly recommend roasting your own on the stovetop instead of using the jarred version. It takes no more than five or 10 minutes, and can be done while the piperade is cooking; it adds such a wonderful, deep-charred flavor that you just can't get from a jar.
I first made this recipe for brunch, but I can easily see adding this to my lineup of quick weeknight dinners and make-ahead lunches.
- Kelli, September 2015
Eggs with Summer Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Bell Peppers
small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
medium summer squash or zucchini (approximately 4 cups)
medium tomatoes, chopped (approximately 3 cups)
fresh thyme (optional)
ground Spanish piquillo pepper or Spanish paprika
medium red bell pepper (see Recipe Note)
Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add squash and cook until it begins to soften and brown, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme (if using), and piquillo or paprika, and let simmer until everything is cooked down thick and stewy, about 20 minutes.
While the ratatouille is cooking, roast the pepper on the stovetop; see How To Roast Peppers on the Stovetop. Once it has cooled, remove the core and seeds, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the roasted peppers, and salt and pepper to taste. Let the dish cool before serving — it's best served warm or at room temperature.
Fry the eggs (see how here), or prepare them however you prefer. Divide the vegetables between two plates, and top with the eggs. Serve with buttered toast.
If you'd rather not roast your own pepper, use approximately 3/4 cup of jarred roasted red peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces.
This recipe has been updated — first published October 2006.