Recipe Recommendation: Pipérade
A pipérade is a Basque dish made with tomatoes, peppers, Bayonne ham, and piment d’espelette. It’s often served over scrambled eggs, though some recipe variations call for poaching the eggs right in the sauce, or serving the sauce over poached chicken or polenta.
This dish is very quick and versatile, and hearty. I think Aida Mollenkamp’s recipe here is closest to the most authentic style.
Aida Mollenkamp’s Pipérade recipe
6 medium tomatoes
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced Bayonne ham (or prosciutto), cut into 1/2-inch squares
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 medium dried bay leaf
2 medium red bell peppers, cleaned and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
2 medium green bell peppers, cleaned and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
2 teaspoons piment d’Espelette (or paprika or cayenne pepper)
1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a medium bowl halfway with ice and water. Using the tip of a knife, remove the stem and cut a shallow X-shape into the bottom of each tomato. Place tomatoes in boiling water and blanch until the skin just starts to pucker and loosen, about 10 seconds. Drain tomatoes and immediately immerse them in the ice water bath. Using a small knife, peel loosened skin and cut each tomato in half. With a small spoon, scrape out any seeds and core and coarsely chop the remaining flesh. Set aside.
2. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When oil shimmers, add Bayonne ham (or prosciutto) and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and reserve.
3. Return pan to heat, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and, once heated, add garlic and onion. Cook, stirring rarely, until soft and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in herbs and pepper slices and season well with salt. Cover and cook, stirring rarely, until peppers are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
4. Stir in diced tomatoes, browned ham, and piment d’Espelette (or paprika or cayenne pepper) and season well with salt. Cook uncovered until mixture melds together and juices have slightly thickened. Serve.