Basque Piperade – An Experiment in French Cuisine

This was really the first time I’ve ever made a completely French dish. I have eaten a lot of French food, my French teacher in high school taught me so much about the culture and I have been to France and absolutely love it. So naturally when I came across a Buzzfeed Food article listing French foods that will basically change your life I pored over it for a while. One of the recipes that stood out the most at first seemed intimidating, but as I researched further it’s actually delightfully simple and packed full of beautiful flavor – Basque Piperade. My husband liked this so much that we had it for dinner and then for lunch the next day (he hates leftovers, so this is saying a lot!)

The original recipe is from the Cured By Bacon WordPress blog and I stuck to it fairly closely, although I wasn’t able to get some of the exact ingredients. Still, my version was a huge success and something I will be making again. Chris even had the idea to buy mini cast iron skillets and serve it as an appetizer at a dinner party – how cute (and impressive) would that look?!

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28oz can whole peeled tomatoes

1 can tomato puree

4-6 whole roasted sweet red bell peppers, sliced

10-15 cloves fresh sliced garlic (Don’t be put off by the amount of garlic, it really is important to put so much and because the flavors blend so well it is not overpowering at all)

1 yellow onion, sliced

3-4 large eggs

1 tsp chili powder

2 bay leaves

salt & pepper

1 cup olive oil (I eyeballed this, I just know that it looked like a lot!)

A good loaf of crusty bread for dunking and scooping

– Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil on medium-high heat until soft and see-through. Add the spices and saute for about another 30 seconds or so. Add the whole tomatoes (break them up a little with a spoon) and add the peppers. Season to taste with salt and pepper and throw the bay leaves in there. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes. Re-season if necessary. 

Ladle 2 or 3 cups of the ‘soup’ into an oven proof cast iron skillet. Crack one egg into a bowl or pouring jug, make a little well in the cast iron skillet with a spoon and pour the egg into that allocated space, like so:

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Repeat with the other 3 eggs and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, watching closely, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still yummy and runny. 

While the piperade was cooking in the oven I whipped out my panini press, sliced and buttered some thick pieces of bread and grilled them. What a delight it was to pierce one of those delicious eggs with a piece of warm, buttery, crispy-on-the-edges bread and sop up the runny yolks and the amazing flavors of that tomato/roasted red pepper stew/soup/sauce. 

Now that I think about it, minus the eggs, this would also make a fantastic sauce for pasta. Really, this is such a seemingly intimidating dish that is so easy to execute – you absolutely must give it a shot.

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Basque Piperade – An Experiment in French Cuisine

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