Spanish Piperade with Ham and Smoked Paprika

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Piperade, tender sweet peppers cooked with cured ham and enlivened with smoked paprika and garlic, is a typical Basque dish that also turns out to be a versatile breakfast staple. Make a batch and watch it disappear, tucked into an omelet, heaped onto toasted bread or spooned into a bowl and topped with a fried or poached egg.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 oz. (90 g) serrano ham, Bayonne ham or prosciutto, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 3 cups/18 oz./560 g)
  • 1 tsp. Spanish smoked or sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
  • 4 fried or poached eggs (optional)

Directions:

In a fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ham and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it softens, about 1 minute.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they give off some of their juices, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Uncover the pan and stir in the paprika. Continue to cook until the juices thicken, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among individual bowls, topping each serving with some parsley and a fried or poached egg, if desired. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma Breakfast Comforts, by Rick Rodgers (Weldon Owen 2010)

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