Sometimes after a long day at school the last thing I want to do is cook. On those days, I’m glad for recipes like this. It requires very little active time besides chopping a few vegetables (which I find rather soothing). After that, you literally can just set it and forget it. And it kind of blows my mind how flavorful such a homey dish can be. I learned about this after a trip to San Francisco with my friend, Tamara. We were able to go to a Basque restaurant of the same name as this dish. I think this meal was the start of my love for the food of Spain (and the food of the Basques). Anyhow, here’s the recipe:
Piperade (my adaptation from Gerald Hirigoyen’s The Basque Kitchen)
1/2 cup olive oil (I know it’s a lot, but it’s important for the stewing process)
1 onion, chopped (yellow or white)
3 large bell peppers (any color or a mixture–green funny enough are my favorite), seeded and diced
6 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
6 ripe roma tomatoes or equivalent of beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and diced
a good pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp. of Spanish smoky paprika (we’re really lucky in Denver to have this spice store, and Penzey’s also sells this)
1 large bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste (I start out with 1/2 tsp. each, it usually takes a little more salt)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and peppers to the oil and cook for 5 minutes. Add everything else and stir to combine. Let it simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally (I wouldn’t be surprised if you could cook this in the crockpot on a really low temperature).
When it’s close to finishing, I make a few indentations in the top of the stew and crack an egg in each indentation. Then I cover the pan and cook the eggs for 10 minutes (rotate the pan after 5) until the yolk is just set. If you like your eggs runny, you could cook them less. I serve the whole thing with toast and bacon or serrano ham or prosciutto or some other cured meat (today it was sopressata). You can use leftovers to fill omelets or as a sauce for fish or chicken. You can even poach another round of eggs on top of the extras. It’s very forgiving.