Piperade, a spicy-sweet saute of bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions, is one of the quintessential dishes of the Basque country. During our travels, we saw piperade used on both sides of the French–Spanish border as a component of savory pintxos, as a side to a fish dish, and as an ingredient in a flavorful sauce. They call it Piperrada in Basque and Spanish, and Pipérade in French. We call it delicious.
The versatility is no doubt due to the crowd-pleasing combination of sweet bell peppers and onions with the spice from piment d’Espelette, the French Basque spice we encountered all over the region.
Serve it at home with some gently toasted bread, or try it as a component in these recipes:
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 6 garlic cloves
- 4 tomatoes
- Espelette pepper or red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
- Toasted baguette slices optional
Do your prep: thinly slice the onion lengthwise, core the bell peppers and cut them lengthwise into ¼ inch wide strips, peel and mince the garlic cloves, roughly chop the tomatoes.
Heat a large pan over medium high heat until hot. Add the olive oil until it shimmers. Then add the onion, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have colored and begun to soften. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, slice and lightly toast some baguette slices, if you're using the piperade as a dip now.
When you're ready to serve, season with salt and espelette pepper.
This recipe makes a little over 3 cups, so you'll have plenty to spare for many recipes. It stores well in the refrigerator or freezer.