Piperade if you are French or piperrada if you are from the Spanish side of the border. This Basque classic is one of my favourite comfort food dishes. When I am short of time I rely on tins or jars of cooked red peppers. My preferred choice are the pimientos del piquillo-stocked in Waitrose and Marks and Spencer’s specialist food section. They are quite expensive over here so I fill up the car with supersize tins when driving back from south-west France. It might seem a bit odd to pour the eggs into the tomato and pepper stew where they gently scramble but it gives the dish a wonderful creaminess. Sometimes I have eaten piperade when the eggs are fried and served on the side but I remain unconvinced about this-preferring the all-in-one dish.
- 4 mixed peppers, halved and deseeded or 1 large jar cooked peppers
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- ½-1 teaspoon smoked paprika (depending on its heat)
- 1x 400g tin plum tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- To serve
- Fried chorizo or slices of Bayonne ham and lots of crusty bread
- Heat the grill to high. Place the peppers, cut side down on a grill rack and grill for about 20 minutes until the skins are evenly charred. Wrap the peppers in foil and leave until cold. Peel off the skins and cut into 1cm thick slivers. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently sauté the onion and garlic for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the smoked paprika, tomatoes, tomato purée and 200ml water. Bring to the boil and stir in the peppers. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 25 minutes until the stew is thick. Taste and season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Just before serving pour the beaten eggs into the stew and stir gently for 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately with fried chorizo or Bayonne ham and lots of bread.