Tag Archives: Basque

Tuna Steaks With Piment d’Espelette


1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 red bell peppers, very thinly sliced
1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, sliced very thinly
1-1/2 tsp thyme leaf
1/2 Cup water
Kosher salt
Piment d’Espelette
Four 6-oz tuna steaks, each 1″ thick
1 – 5 oz bag spring mix salad greens
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp Sherry Reserva Balsamic Vinegar


Heat 1/2 Cup of the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the peppers, onion, garlic and leaf thyme to the heated oil, cooking about 5 min, or until vegetables are still crisp but beginning to become tender. Add the water to the vegetables, lower the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring frequently, until the vegetables have completely softened and the liquid has evaporated, about 25 min. Remove skillet from heat, then season the cooked vegetables with salt and 1/2 tsp of piment d’Espelette. Toss to coat, then transfer vegetables to a separate bowl, allowing to cool.

Rub the tuna steaks on all sides with 2 Tbsp of olive oil.  Season the fish liberally with salt and another 1/2 tsp of Piment d’Espelette.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat on the stove. Add the oiled, seasoned tuna steaks and sear, turning once, until fish is browned outside and medium rare in the middle, only about 4 min. Remove tuna from skillet, transferring to a cutting board. Slice steaks into 1/2 inch thick strips.

Add the spring mix (salad greens), fresh chopped parsley and sherry vinegar to the pepper mixture. Season salad with salt and a little more piment d’Espelette to taste, and gently toss to incorporate seasoning throughout.

To serve: Mound 1/4 of the salad on each of the plates, then top with sliced tuna. Garnish with salt and Piment d’Espelette and serve immediately.

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Pasta With Piment d’Espelette


1-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 large clove of fresh garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp Piment d’Espelette
1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
Kosher salt
10 leaves of fresh mint
10 leaves of fresh basil
1 pound pasta (recommended: penne, farfalle, gemelli, rotini, or other ~2″ noodle)


Empty the can of diced tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Pulse until tomatoes are pulverized and smooth.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, over medium heat on the stove. Add the diced shallots and sliced garlic, and sauté, stirring often, until ingredients have softened and become fragrant: about 3 min. Sprinkle the Piment d’Espelette over the mixture, stirring to incorporate into the sizzling ingredients.  Add the pureed tomato to the saucepan, then season well with salt, cooking the sauce over medium heat, uncovered, to allow the sauce to thicken, about 15 min. Add the fresh mint and basil leaves to the mixture, reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 15 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. When the sauce has about 10 minutes left, cook the pasta, according to the package directions, until “al dente.” Drain the pasta in a colander, then combine the penne and the sauce in one of the pots. Warm the combined mixture over medium-low heat, with the lid off the pan, stirring frequently, for several minutes, allowing the pasta to absorb some of the tomato sauce.

Serve immediately.

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Basque Chicken With Piperade

Piperade is a sauteed tomato-pepper-onion dish, seasoned with thinly-sliced ham and the French chile, Piment d’Espellette. This Basque dish is frequently served, as a sort of sauce, with chicken or other main courses.


1 (3- to 3-1/2-lb) broiler chicken, cut into 8 pieces (you can ask the person at the meat counter to do this)
1 Tbsp olive oil

For the Piperade:

1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained.
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil
4 oz thinly sliced Bayonne ham, cut into 1/2-inch squares (or, if unavailable, Prosciutto will do nicely)
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp 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
Piment d’Espelette to taste
Kosher salt


Run chicken pieces under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Season chicken pieces on all sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large heat-proof casserole or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, until surface of oil is shimmering. Do not over-heat the oil, or it will begin to smoke.

Once oil is hot enough, add 1/3 to 1/2 of the chicken pieces to the pan, allowing the pieces to cook until very brown on all sides, turning pieces over as needed. Remove browned chicken from oil and set aside, then repeat the process with additional chicken until all the pieces are well-browned all over, about 10 minutes per batch.

Remove dutch oven from the stove, allowing oil to cool slightly before discarding the excess. Wipe the empty, slightly cooled, pot with paper towels.

Make the piperade:

Add 1 Tbsp of the oil to a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough that it begins to shimmer, add the ham and brown it, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes, until the meat turns a golden brown color. Remove ham from pan with a slotted spoon, setting aside for now.

Add the remaining 2 tsp olive oil to the dutch oven, and add the onion and garlic. Cook, over medium heat, until ingredients have softened and are beginning to caramelize, about 8 min. Add the herbs and bell pepper slices, generously seasoning with salt. Put the lid on the dutch oven and allow the mixture to cook on medium-low heat, undisturbed, until the peppers have lost their crunch, about 10 min.

Set aside the lid and stir in the drained, diced tomatoes, browned ham. Add Piment d’Espelette to taste. Season well with salt. Allow mixture to simmer, uncovered, for 10 – 12 minutes, until the flavors combine and the pan liquids have cooked down a bit. Remove the bay leaf.

Transfer the batch of pipérade to the bottom of the chicken pot, topping with the browned chicken pieces. Replace lid on the chicken pot, and bring mixture to a simmer over low heat.

Allow to cook, mostly undisturbed, only lifting the lid to stir occasionally and to keep the mixture from burning on the bottom of the pan, until the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes.

Serve on top of steamed rice or potatoes.

Make ahead: Piperade can be made up to several days ahead of serving. Allow to come to room temperature before adding to chicken pot, so as not to mess up the cooking time.

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AllSpice Piment d’Espelette Featured In DSM Weekly

PimentDEspeletteSeveral eagle-eyed customers brought our attention to a recent issue of DSM Weekly that featured an AllSpice ingredient.

In her weekly column, author Wini Moranville featured the little-known French chile, Piment d’Espelette.

Moranville asks:

What makes it so special? In terms of spice level, these piments aren’t blazing hotties by any means. Rather, they bring a more gentle spiciness, as well as an intriguing fruity angle. (BonAppétit.com identifies the flavor as somewhat peach-like, with sea-brine qualities and a “nuanced, subtle heat.”)

“Nuanced? Indeed–no wonder the French like it.”

To explain a little further: Piment d’Espelette ($14.25/jar) is a medium-heat chile native to Southern France, in the Basque region. Introduced to France from the New World [Mexico and South America] five hundred years ago, Piment D’Espelette quickly became popular as a substitute for rare and costly imported black pepper. It is now a cornerstone of Basque cuisine.

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