Thursday, 27 June 2013


Piperade is an absolutely genius dish. More substantial than a mere sauce and not quite robust enough to stand on its own feet as a stew, piperade is actually an ingredient used to 'posh-up' fairly humdrum meals. I used it to jazz up a sea bream lunch dish (recipe to follow soon), but it could be equally used to add pizzazz to breakfast eggs or supper of grilled lamb or chicken. I once saw Keith Floyd making piperade really badly on one of his vintage cookery shows, and getting a thorough bollocking from a disapproving French grand dame standing at his shoulder. Hilarious. He took it fairly well though.

Anyway, the reason I made piperade today is because I got over excited at my local market in Church Street when I saw a few stallholders selling beautiful fresh sweet peppers at a pound ('paaaaaahnd') a bowl (boooowwwwwwllll'). Without thinking, I paid over three quid and heaved home a dozen huge red, green, yellow and red peppers. After making a salad, and after leaving them in the fridge for a couple of days I panicked. What was I going to make with the eleven peppers taking up nearly two shelves of fridge space?? Ratatouille? No, I didn't want to buy courgettes and aubergines to add insult to injury. So piperade it had to be. And what a choice! I kid you not, having served up a big bowl to a few chosen participants, the verdict was in: Piperade ROCKS!

I would have spread some around some later meals if my mates hadn't scoffed a kilo of the stuff in record time. Next time I'm keeping all it to myself.

Cost-wise, because of my Church Street bargain, this dish comes in at about 50p a dollop. Even when peppers are out of season I don't expect that piperade will be a particularly sprend-thrifty meal. 'Thrift, not spendthrift' - I like it. It has a nice ring to it.

Serves 4


75ml olive oil
3 peppers, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 large white onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large dried chilli, crumbled
Salt and black pepper
400g can of plum tomatoes, plus a quarter can of water

Stew everything together until thick and unctuous. Serve warm, cold, on its own or with other food.

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