Weekend cooking – Basque classic, piperade (video)

There are different ways to prepare a piperade and in this case, it’s done by a celebrated chef. I’ve yet to try this version but it’s on my list. It’s not complicated at all and it doesn’t take all day to turn it out either, which is nice.

Basque cooking is widely considered to be excellent and the people of this small region that sits partially in France and partially in Spain are very proud of their cuisine and heritage. If you haven’t already read The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky, it’s wonderful. Then again, every book of his that I’ve read has been great and impossible to put down.

Anyway, here’s one version of piperade and it uses scrambled eggs.

The version that I first learned years ago via my cousin’s wife poaches eggs, instead of scrambling them. It’s delicious and the thought of breaking an egg yolk into the mix makes me want to round up a batch right now.

So in Caroline’s piperade, she starts with a hot pan and cooks some bacon in it. (Not the smokey kind.) All of the veggies – tomatoes, peppers and onions – are all cut into similar sized chunks. After the bacon cooks down a bit, remove it and set aside for later. Then she adds olive oil, then adds in the onions and cooks them until they’re clear. Then she adds in the peppers (she doesn’t skin them, it takes too long) and cooks them, then she adds in the tomatoes.

Let that cook down though the tomatoes will leave it with enough liquid, much more so than in the video above. Let it simmer for maybe 15 minutes and crack whole eggs and rest them on the top of the liquid. Add a lid so they cook. For me, it’s best when the yolk is runny so don’t let them cook too long.

Serve in a dish and add pieces of bacon back onto the serving. I’ve seen others use chorizo instead of bacon and that too is very good. It’s best when tomatoes are in season, as you might imagine.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Ah, the perfect excuse then. :-)

  • Naja pallida

    I have friends in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, so it isn’t like I don’t have any other reason than chili to go there. Generally just make a weekend out of it… and not forget to stop by Seferino’s for a gallon of red sauce. :)

  • BlueIdaho

    Many came to herd sheep, but the gold and silver rush also played a part in the Basque settlement here.

  • Abby

    and why did the Basque come to settle in Boise?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    *grins* If I didn’t live in NM but did live within driving range, I would definitely head in-state to get some during chile season. Heck, I’d probably go ahead and rent a motel room with a kitchen, just so I could complete the cleaning and get them sealed and on ice.

    (BTW, last year, since we still had quite a bit in the freezer, we bought another 35 lb bag, had it roasted onsite, then took ‘em home and pickled the lot. Cleaned, deseeded, chopped + standard dill pickling mixture. The result was around 20 pint jars.)

    For what it’s worth, you might have better luck ordering direct from one of the Hatch chile farms, and then just spend an afternoon using a propane barbecue grill to roast them.

  • Naja pallida

    Finding good fresh chili is nearly impossible outside of NM… even here in Texas, they supposedly ship in fresh Hatch chili every season, but the stuff they get is terrible. Almost completely tasteless. I have to make a special trip to NM every year just to stock up. :)

  • MonkeyBoy

    So the vid basically gives a fancy recipe for scrambled eggs with catsup on top?

  • BlueIdaho

    Little known fact: Boise’s Basque population is 15,000–the largest in the US and fifth largest in the world outside of Spain. Their culinary influence on our city is one of the things I love best about living here. They hold the Basque festival “Jaialdi” here every five years (next one 2015). It’s one huge street party with endless arrays of food.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Add some chopped Hatch chiles* to that and it’d be about perfect.

    (* = Not canned. Bought fresh, roasted, de-skinned & seeds removed. Can then be put into vac-seal bags and frozen for long-term storage.)

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