A “crumby” secret
Sept. 24, 2009
By Kim Dannies
One of my favorite breads for exquisitely crunchy toast is Red Hen Baking Co.’s Waitsfield Common bread. I use it, brushed with olive oil and grilled on both sides, for bruschetta and to accompany liver pates, jams, broths and creamy sauces.
A veggie dish that pairs beautifully with Red Hen toast is pipérade (pee-pay-RADH).
Pipérade originated in the Basque region of France and variations always include tomatoes, sweet or green peppers, garlic, onion and olive oil. It can be served as a side or main dish, as a filling for omelets, atop pasta, meats or grilled bread.
This recipe is all about easy technique: The peppers are roasted, then peeled and sliced. Rather than sizzle the vegetables in a traditional sauté, they “sweat” on a low heat to develop more complex flavors. Basically, I put pipérade on everything except dessert. I recently served it with a bit of crumbled goat cheese, which created a creamy, healthy sauce — superb for mopping up with my “secret” toast.
On the open gas of a stove, under the broiler or on the outdoor grill, char 1 sweet yellow pepper and 2 red peppers, turning until each side is black. Place charred peppers in a paper bag to steam for 10 minutes. Slice off the tip and bottom, open up the pepper flat and peel off the char while rinsing under cool running water. Blot peppers dry on paper towel. Cut each pepper into 1/4-inch wide strips.
Heat a large sauté pan to medium-low. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Slice 2 medium sweet onions and add to the pan. Add a large pinch of kosher salt, stir and cover. Sweat for 15 minutes.
Mince 4 garlic cloves and add to the pan. Add the pepper strips, 3 tablespoons of decent drinking sherry, 3 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes (with seeds and skin), 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves and 1/2 tablespoon freshly minced rosemary leaves. Cover and sweat for 20 to 30 minutes. Adjust for seasoning with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Serves 4 to 6.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.