Here again we have a delicious and versatile dish that is often eaten in France. It’s easy to make and keeps well, so making a batch that’s only partially consumed leaves some for a quick meal another day. Hailing from the Basque region, pipérade is basically a combination of peppers and onions, slowly braised and bound with a few tomatoes. Traditionally, it is spiced with powdered Espelette pepper (“pimenton d’espelette”), a Basque red chili pepper named after a town in the region. I was happy to have a little tin of that wonderful ingredient on hand, but a combination of sweet paprika and a little cayenne would work. I added chopped garlic to this mix, and I have sometimes added a little smoked ham, which I believe is traditional. Topped with a poached egg and sprinkled with a pinch of red pepper, it makes a wonderful supper. It also makes a great appetizer on small toasts or crackers, a filling for crepes or omelets, or the vegetable component of a frittata.
Pipérade for two
1 yellow onion, sliced vertically into moon-shaped slivers
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green pepper, sliced vertically in thin strips
1 red pepper, sliced vertically in thin strips
2 small tomatoes, sliced vertically in 6-8 pieces (or use canned whole tomatoes)
½ tsp pimenton d’espelette (or ½ tsp paprika and a pinch of cayenne)
Sauté the onion slowly in olive oil for about 6 minutes, until it is just about to brown slightly, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add the peppers and continue to cook, covered, for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and pimenton d’espelette, and continue to cook until the tomatoes are soft and the ingredients are well combined. This can be eaten right away or put aside for another day, as the flavors improve with time.