Piperrada (or piperade, in French) is a Basque dish of onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and flavored with an Espelette pepper (piper is the word for pepper in Basque and in Gascon, which is a French variant spoken on the French side of the Basque country; that’s where the name of this dish comes from.) Traditionally you can add eggs, paprika, and/or ham, and I am a maximalist, and I found a recipe a few years ago that combines all three!
Cousin Matthew’s Stovetop Piperrada
This is from a blog called homecookinginmontana, and the writer adapted this from Food Network/Canada, so make of that what you will. If you google Basque eggs, though, this is it, but there’s a presentation twist I like. I have adapted it further, and this is what I’ve made.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced but not diced. Make slivers out of it.
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
1 large red pepper, cut into thin julienne
1 green bell pepper, also julienned
1 Espellete pepper, julienned. [Neither the writer nor I had access to an Espellete so she, and therefore I, used a jalapeño.]
4-5 medium tomatoes, chopped
A little salt and pepper. You can easily omit this.
1 tsp smoked paprika [here’s our old friend pimentón again, if you can find it]
8 thin slices Serrano ham. Use slices from a smoked ham, or prosciutto, should no Serrano ham be available to you.
In a large sauté or frying pan heat the olive oil and add the onion. Cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. On medium low heat add the garlic and the peppers (red, green, and Espelette/jalapeño) until they’re soft too, probably about 5 or 6 minutes for this, or maybe more, depending on how you julienned the peppers and the dimensions of the pan you’re using. Add the tomatoes and shake in some salt and/or pepper if you want. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes (everything gets soft and the juices are released) and then remove the cover and cook some more until the juices have mostly evaporated, 5—10 minutes.
Now here’s the first fun part. With a wooden spoon make 4 holes or wells in this (this is the piperrada) and crack an egg into each one, being careful to keep the yolks intact. Salt and/or pepper the eggs if you want. Cover again and let the eggs cook until they’re the way you want them. I think they’re best if you get the whites to firm up and leave the yolks runny but you be the judge. You can let this go without fear of the piperrada scorching.
But where is the ham? This is the other fun part. On 2 plates or 4, depending on how many you’re feeding, make 4 wreaths out of the ham slices. With the biggest spatula you have, divide the piperrada with the eggs in their centers and plop them onto the wreaths (see header image.) You may have to dig out the eggs, put them in the center, and scoop out the piperrada to make a border within/on top of the ham.
Isn’t that fun! Sure to wow the crowd. This is absolutely delicious.