The Midi-Pyrénées Piperade is a mouth-watering spicy sauce actually inspired by the Spanish and Basque gastronomies. In France, the "Piperade Basque" is widely enjoyed as a stewing ingredient or a tangy garnish for dishes. But this seasonal sauce, which accounts for the gourmet French food, also refers to the "Spanish Omelette", very popular in the Southern regions of France bordered by Spain.
The Piperade was traditionally made at the end of summer when the tasty tomatoes and green peppers from Midi-Pyrénées were abundant. The typical term of "Piperade" dates back to the early 19th century, steming from the Latin word "piper" meaning "ground pepper".
It was actually a Béarnaise recipe which first received the name of Piperade, consisting in combining beaten eggs with tomatoes and peppers and seasoning with local chilli pepper called Piment d'Espelette. Later, the neighbouring Basque Country introduced this Southern speciality into its gastronomy and the dish was largely known as "Piperade Basque" or "Spanish Omelette" (since the original recipe called for eggs).
The typical Pipérade from Midi-Pyrénées is indeed a Basque main dish including chopped onions, sweet peppers and tomatoes sautéed in olive oil. The secret of such vegetable speciality is to mix green and red peppers for an appetizing, colourful result!
Housewives and Chefs from the South of France claim two ways of cooking the Piperade. The first one includes the tomatoes' juice and implies that all vegetables are cooked very slowly for 40 minutes to one hour.
The second option is to drain all the juice from the tomatoes and cook the mixture for about fifteen minutes before adding the eggs. Whatever recette you choose, the typical Piperade's tangy taste will satisfy all the gourmets!
Top Tip! In many restaurants of France, the menu includes "Basquaise" dishes, meaning Basque-style cooking.
The common feature of these "Basquaise" specialities is that they are based on the mouth-watering Piperade stew, covering rice or complementing roast chicken for instance.