Simple Pipérade

Based on Chow’s recipe of the same name

Ingredients

  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced Bayonne ham (or prosciutto), cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium dried bay leaf
  • 2 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, cleaned and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, cleaned and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 teaspoons piment d’Espelette (or paprika or cayenne pepper)

Directions

  1. Place a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When oil shimmers, add ham or prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a plate and reserve.
  2. Return the pan to heat, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and, once heated, add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring rarely, until soft and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in herbs and pepper slices and season well with salt. Cover and cook, stirring rarely, until peppers are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
  3. While waiting for things to cook, bring a pot of water to boil. In the meantime, using the tip of a knife, remove the stem and cut a shallow X-shape into the bottom of each tomato.
  4. Place the tomatoes in boiling water and blanch until the skin just starts to pucker and loosen, about 10 seconds. Drain and immediately and shower with cold water.
  5. Using a small knife, peel the loosened skin and cut each tomato in half (equator).
  6. With a small spoon, scrape out any seeds, then core and coarsely chop the remaining flesh. Set aside.
  7. Stir in diced tomatoes, browned ham, and piment d’Espelette (or paprika or cayenne pepper) and season well with salt. Cook uncovered until mixture melds together and juices have slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Note

  • Instead of fresh tomatos you can use canned diced tomatos
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