Piperade - The Taste of the Sun from South West France - Gluten-Free Recipe

The Pays Basque is  much like Brittany or Wales, in that it has its own language, culture and distinctive cuisine. The Basque country spans the borders of France and Spain and its cookery is hot, colourful and powerful. In the dish of piperade, there is more of the Flamenco than the Java more of Miró than Monet. Piperade breaks the rules of classic cookery, it works on a clash of colour and taste and revels in its brashness. Although often used as a vegetable, side dish or sauce, traditionally piperade is a complete meal with eggs and ham being added towards the the end of cooking but piperade is a free spirit so I feel I can use it in a myriad of ways.

Omelette a la piperade


Piperade essentials Authentic Organic d'Espelette pepper
You can never have too much of the basic vegetable piperade! You can use it as a pizza topping, to make your own version of Provençal tian or pissaladière, liquidise it into soup or reduce it down to a hot sauce for rice, meat or fish.  It has more kick than ratatouille, which is another dish which people make in huge amounts and store, particularly when zucchini are in season. For me ratatouille gets boring and I always find a bag or three of it at the bottom of the freezer, piperade, never. Rather there is the regret that I didn't store up enough of it!


There are no real rules in making it although the ingredients of a traditional piperade should contain piment d'Espelette. Some cooks just throw everything in the pot at the beginning. I tend to cook the onion and garlic first.

 

INGREDIENTS

Traditionally piperade is symbolic of the Basque flag so green peppers are used but we don't actually like green peppers so I use all red or if I have them add yellow and purple.

I have worked out that for optimum chilli heat I can fill my large cooking pot with peppers, tomatoes and a few onions and one whole piment d'Espelette and create something truly delicious. For making smaller quantities I usually take out the larger portion of the seeds and divide up the d'Espelette but as you are likely to have your own home-grown or local chilli favourites maybe I should leave this particular ingredient to your own discretion! Remember all things organic have a much deeper flavour, if you read of piment d'Espelette being very mild then I suggest one, they have never eaten the authentic organic version and two, they are just using the outer flesh.

The following amounts will give you enough for a large 'omelette à la piperade' and with  a little left over for the next day!

Ingredients of piperade
4 large tomatoes
1 large red pepper
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic crushed
Piment d'Espelette or chilli of your choice*
Salt and pepper
Butter or a suitable oil for cooking.
4 large eggs beaten
Ham cut into large thickish pieces

* Having read around the subject the nearest taste to Espelette seems to be  Organic Ground Cayenne.

 

METHOD

In a heavy pan or one with a substantial base sauté the chopped onion and garlic for a few minutes until soft.

Add the pepper and chilli, turn down the heat, cover the pan and cook until the vegetables start to soften (approximately 8 minutes).

Piperade organic recipe

Chop the tomatoes add to the pan and cover. Cook for another 10 minutes minutes, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes have broken down.

Remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook until the sauce thickens.

At this point I usually add the salt. Keep tasting until you have the level of heat you want from the chillies. The time of this will depend on the amount of water in the tomatoes and how hot you like your sauce!

Omelette a la piperade - gluten free organic recipe
Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan and melt into it a knob of butter. Add the ham and brown slightly

Lift the vegetables from your cooking pot and transfer to the frying pan using a slotted spoon to remove excess juice. Keep adding more until you have enough to fill around three quarters of your frying pan. Whatever remains in the pot can be used later.

Omelette a la piperade organic gluten free recipe
Add the eggs and cook until they are almost but not over...cooked, remember this dish will continue to cook as you bring it to the table.

Enjoy!

All that needs to said now is Bon Appėtit!

Hope to see you here again for another recipe from an old farmhouse in Normandie,
All the best,
Sue

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©  Sue Cross 2017

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