Since the Slow Food movement came on the scene, it hasn’t just been fast food that’s come under fire. Those twenty-minute dinners that get you in and out of the kitchen, often relying on pre-prepared ingredients, have lost their credibility, too. But, fast isn’t always a compromise when it comes to flavour or food value. Sometimes quick preparations with fresh ingredients act as healthy flavour-boosters – think quick pickles or quick kimchi. Sure, it’s worth preparing things the long way, for depth of flavour or shelf-stability, but it’s nice to know you can take shortcuts sometimes, too.
This week’s French Fridays dish is one of those shortcuts to flavour. We’ve encountered pipérade before in the group, when we made Chicken Basquaise. This quick version doesn’t have the where-have-you-been-all-my-life quality that the sauce in that recipe possesses, but it’s a healthy, vegan riff on the same sorts of flavours.
I strayed a little from the recipe, choosing to sauté the onions, garlic, and hot pepper (some jalapeño I already had on hand) instead of adding them raw to the sweet peppers, but I think that was a good choice for us this time. I also skipped the green pepper, because the ones in the market today were a little dubious.
The secret to this take on pipérade is caramelizing the sautéed peppers with red wine vinegar. It mimics the flavours created by slow-cooking in the traditional recipe and can serve as a side or condiment alongside any of the traditional proteins that are paired with the real thing. I think it would also make a great accompaniment for barbequed steak. Our leftovers are going to be featuring in scrambled eggs tomorrow, or maybe even a frittata.
After that, I might have to make another batch.
Find out what the rest of the French Fridays crew thought about this week’s recipe: Pipérade Stir-fry