Pipérade

Pipérade

Summer’s end, when temperatures are cool in the evening and morning and still intensely warm during the afternoons produce is at its absolute best. This is why I always planned classes for these weeks, because it is the most abundant, flavorful, delightful time of year.  Meals can be had outdoors, the wind is usually low, insects have gone elsewhere, and everything has that summer kiss of flavor.

Like many, I am not offering cooking classes but the produce doesn’t know that, and it’s as gorgeous as ever! (I will be offering something soon, so please stay tuned).   This morning at the market there were actual ears of corn, which is becoming increasingly common at the French market, peppers of all shapes, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuces, herbs galore and…radishes!  Gone are the days when the radish was a harbinger of spring.

colored tomatoes

With all of this abundance I am sometimes pulled a-thither as I decide what to make. Once home, though, it becomes obvious when the produce is spilled out on the kitchen counter.  Today my dish has to be Pipérade (see a sizzling version in the link above!  I neglected to take a picture of the plate since guests were arriving) , that culinary symbol of the Pays Basque, a heady combination of peppers, onions and tomatoes cooked to melting tenderness.  A little air-cured ham for flavor – optional of course – then I do as the Basque cook does and poach eggs in the sauce, because the combination is a little piece of heaven.  Eggs are, by the way, so good (I hesitate to say “best” but they are because the chickens are so well fed with scraps during this season) at this time of year too, if you can get them from someone whose chickens peck and run.

radishes on sage

Because I found radishes and adore them, they’ll be my “amuse bouche” with bread, butter, and salt of course, but also with a bit of peppered cream.  That’s a new little twist, but so are radishes in September.

vine peaches and biscotti

As for dessert, I’ll take some vine peaches – pêches de vigne – and toss them with orange flower water.  They are the most gorgeous fruits, initially planted in vineyards as “witness” plants. When their leaves got spots on them, the vintner knew to check the vines.  Today they are a rarity, not a commercial fruit but a holdover from another era. I get them whenever I see them, they’re so sweet and tannic, so beautiful with their blood red, to yellow, to white flesh.

Find a recipe here for Piperade, double it and freeze some.  It brightens a winter plate like nothing else!  And as lagniappe, there is a recipe for the amazing Biscotti, too!

Bon Appétit!

Print Recipe
PIPERADE . *From my upcoming book PLAT DU JOUR
PIPERADE ASTUCES: • You can make this sauce without the eggs and serve it with any number of other things – roast chicken, steamed fish, garlic-rubbed toast, or all by itself! • Pipérade freezes well, so make it in summer to brighten your winter evenings! SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: saucepan PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes COOKING TIME: 1 hour 17 minutes (+/-) DIFFICULTY LEVEL: simple
Cuisine French
Keyword peppers
Servings
SERVINGS
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 large sweet Italian peppers (can use Anaheim or Cubanelle), cored, seeded and cut crosswise into very thin slices
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled, green germ removed, and minced
  • 4 ounces; 125g very thinly sliced air-cured ham such as jambon de Bayonne, Kintoa, or Parma ham
  • 4 pounds; 2kg tomatoes peeled, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • sea salt
  • Piment d’Espelette or hot Paprika
  • 4 to 6 large eggs
  • Fleur de sel
  • Basil or flat-leaf parsley sprigs
Cuisine French
Keyword peppers
Servings
SERVINGS
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 large sweet Italian peppers (can use Anaheim or Cubanelle), cored, seeded and cut crosswise into very thin slices
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled, green germ removed, and minced
  • 4 ounces; 125g very thinly sliced air-cured ham such as jambon de Bayonne, Kintoa, or Parma ham
  • 4 pounds; 2kg tomatoes peeled, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • sea salt
  • Piment d’Espelette or hot Paprika
  • 4 to 6 large eggs
  • Fleur de sel
  • Basil or flat-leaf parsley sprigs
Instructions
  1. Place the oil and the onion slices in a large heavy skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and the garlic, season lightly with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers have softened but aren’t completely limp, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. While the peppers are cooking, cut the ham into thin strips.
  3. Stir the ham into the peppers. Then add the tomatoes. Increase the heat if necessary, to bring the mixture to a boil, then decrease it so it is simmering steadily. Season lightly with salt and piment d’Espelette, cover, and cook until the ingredients have formed a soupy mixture and are tender, about 1 hour. Check and stir from time to time to be sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  4. Break the eggs one by one into the mixture, cover, and cook until the eggs are just set, 3 to 5 minutes. To serve, use a large, shallow spoon to scoop around each egg, grabbing some tomatoes and peppers as you do, and set it delicately in the center of a shallow soup bowl. Once all the eggs are out, scoop out more tomato mixture and surround the eggs with it. Garnish each plate with fleur de sel if desired, and the basil or parsley and serve immediately.
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Print Recipe
NUT BISCOTTI *From ITALIAN FARMHOUSE
This recipe is based on a traditional Tuscan biscotti called cantucci, where almonds are used. I love the deep, golden flavor of the combination of nuts, which are lightly toasted before being added to the dough
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword walnuts
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
biscotti
Ingredients
  • cups; 230 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon ½fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons; 60 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • cup;100 g ½ Vanilla sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup;50 g almonds skinned, toasted, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup;50 g hazelnuts toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup;50 g walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword walnuts
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
biscotti
Ingredients
  • cups; 230 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon ½fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons; 60 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • cup;100 g ½ Vanilla sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup;50 g almonds skinned, toasted, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup;50 g hazelnuts toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup;50 g walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl or the work bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until pale yellow and light. Gradually add the sugar and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the egg yolk, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Fold in the nuts.
  4. Divide the dough into quarters and shape each quarter into a 6-inch (15 cm) log about 1 ½ inches (3.75 cm) thick. Place the logs about 1 ½ inches (3.75 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  5. Bake the logs in the center of the oven until they are puffed and golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Leave the oven on.
  6. With a sharp knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into ½-inch (1.3 cm) thick slices. Place the slices, cut side down, on the parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until they are golden on one side, about 15 minutes. Turn the slices and bake until they are golden on the other side, 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Carol Guess

    Susan, so good to hear from you !!
    Your produce photos are divine !!
    David and I were just reminiscing about our time on Rue Tatin in Louviers. …
    Is your house still available for rent ?
    Next October? We would love to add to our Louviers experiences!!
    Hope all is well with you.
    See you in Paris next year !!

    1. Susan

      Dear Carol, So nice to hear from you. I’ll send you an email! Produce is simply gorgeous right now!

  2. sue

    So nice to get a newsletter! Try adding a Tbls of freshly ground coarse black pepper. Pairs really well with the toasty nuts. Believe the recipe originally came from Spain. I got it by way of a friend’s Azorian great aunt, who served them with sweet white wine for dipping.

    1. Susan

      Thanks!

  3. Jane May

    Hi Susan
    I am interested in buying some of your books, including Plat Du Jour when it is available.
    Is there anywhere in Australia that sells your books?

    1. Susan

      Jane, I do hope there is somewhere but I’m not certain. They are available through Abe Books and, of course, amazon. And you may order them at your local bookstore.

  4. Cathy

    Sounds wonderfully delightful. I might try it with mild Hatch Chiles.

    1. Susan

      Cathy it will be perfect with them. Can you send me some?

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