La piperade is a Basque dish of tomatoes, capsicums, onions and garlic which is slowly simmered so the fl avours melt together. Eat it as a meal or use it as a vegetable to accompany grilled meats. This version, with its addition of softly ‘scrambled’ eggs is very much a meal in its own right. Piment d’espelette is the dried, long red chilli cultivated in the Basque region.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, fi nely sliced
2 large red onions, fi nely sliced
2 green capsicums, thinly sliced
2 red capsicums, thinly sliced
50 mls white wine
8 medium sized vine ripened
tomatoes or 400 grams of tinned tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons piment d’espelette
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
bouquet garni of fresh bay, thyme and parsley
40 grams butter
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
125 grams almonds, lightly toasted
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 red capsicums, roasted, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
150 mls extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Peel, seed and chop the fresh tomatoes or crush the tinned ones. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan on a medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the capsicums, lower the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, 1 teaspoon of the piment d’espelette, salt, sugar and bouquet garni and simmer gently for about 40 minutes or until soft and tender. Check the seasoning, remove the bouquet garni and keep the capsicums warm.
Break the eggs into a bowl and season with the remaining piment d’espelette and salt. Whisk lightly. Heat the butter in a sauté pan and as it starts to sizzle, pour in the eggs and scramble them lightly. While the eggs are still slightly loose fold them into the pipérade and continue to cook until the eggs are fi rm. Spoon into shallow bowls, and garnish with a generous spoonful of red capsicum pesto and chopped parsley.
Pesto: Put the almonds, garlic, capsicums, vinegar and paprika in a food processor and process roughly. Add the olive oil in a steady stream and process until the pesto is thick and smooth. Thin the mixture with a tablespoon or two of hot water if you prefer a looser consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding a
little more vinegar or salt if needed.
Serve with the piperade, on crusty bread, with grilled meats or with a plate of crudités. Serves 6-8