I grew up enjoying Pipérade (Piperrada con huevos frescos). Pipérade is a classic Basque stew of sizzling peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic topped with slices of ham and a poached egg. This dish isn’t complete without a pinch of piment d’espelette for flavoring. To top it off, we enjoyed a homemade rice pudding, and I should say… It doesn’t get any better than this.
Pipérade was a dish Ama (mom) prepared often for my siblings and me year-round. She made it in a terra cotta cazuela, a sturdy clay pot that Ama used in the oven or on the stove top, which she first cured to avoid cracking during cooking. Her cazuelas saw countless dishes, often salt cod (bacalao); cazuelas were often her main kitchen cookware.
Although many use the base of the Pipérade sauce for fish (mainly tuna) or meat, at home we have enjoyed it always with fresh eggs. The best part of this dish is the chance to soak a piece of toast or fresh bread and scoop up the sauce which has lavished the egg while the chunks of pepper, onion and garlic are found along the way.
Piperrada, like most traditional dishes, has many variations. Very easy to prepare and full of flavor, it brings back memories of slow cooking – almost- drizzling pil-pil eggs lavished with a deep red color sauce enhanced by the Espellete and the natural sweetness of the peppers.
While the classic Pipérade often appears with eggs and ham, world-class chefs have used the inspiration and influences of this humble Basque and French dish to prepare new twists with different guises. Making this dish in a cast iron pan quite elevates the flavors as it goes at 450 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes in the oven or until the eggs set.
I sigh. Enjoy! Will be back soon!
- 1 quart can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 jar/4-6 whole roasted sweet red bell peppers
- 10-15 cloves fresh sliced garlic
- 1.5 whole yellow onions, julienned
- 3-4 fresh eggs
- 2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika or piment d'espelette
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6-8 slices of baguette, brushed with olive oil
- Preheat oven to 450º. Chop onions, garlic and red peppers. Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil on medium for 10 minutes. Add bay leaves, salt, piment d'espelette.
- Add tomatoes. Add roasted red peppers. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Place you finished sauce in an oven-proof cast iron pan.
- Make room for the eggs with a spoon and crack one egg in place. Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until the egg whites begin to set, but the yolk remains moist. Serve immediately.
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