Pepper and Pancetta Piperrada

Hi all!

Get excited for this special feature guest post, written by Maxx, my partner and equally creative force behind the new weekly column: Brooke and Maxxs Culinary Crafts.  As an aside, to sample our mouthwatering, fudgy, decadent, showstopper of a chocolate cake, check out the link here.

Without further ado though, his enticing entrée and posting:

Fresh bell peppers shine in this recipe, a Spanish-influenced dish fitting for any meal.  I fixed this for Sunday brunch; the savory flavors working nicely in pairing with the velvety eggs.  If your knife skills are sharp, you can whip this up in 30 minutes, an easy preparation for sure.  The recipe is derived using this original for inspiration.

I had been seeking the opportunity to put Brooke to the test after I learned that she is somewhat picky about her Bell peppers.  I myself had never appreciated the subtleties in their flavor over the range of colors in which they are available.  A fortuitous family pack of peppers at the grocery store afforded me the opportunity to buy a quartet of them; green, red, yellow, and orange.  When preparing the dish, I reserved samples of each and administered a blind taste test.  Brooke correctly differentiated her least favorite, the green pepper, at first, before being swayed by the flavors of the orange.

Ultimately, she identified the similar tasting peppers: orange and green, and yellow and red, only she reversed her selections within those two pairs.  I was impressed overall after being skeptical in her ability to distinguish the peppers by color.

So, onward with what you’ll need to make this breakfast dish:

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4-6 ounces chopped pancetta
4 or more eggs
3 bell peppers
1 Fresno pepper, jalapeño pepper, or other hot pepper (optional)
1 medium red onion
One 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato purée

1. Prepare the vegetables. Dice the onion, and dice three bell peppers of your choosing. For some additional heat, I included a diced Fresno pepper, a mildly spicy red pepper. In this step, I opted to used several paper towels to squeeze the moisture from the chopped peppers, for fear that the excess moisture would result in a runny dish
2. Heat a heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions and pancetta, cooking for roughly five minutes to soften the onion

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3. At this point, I observed a fond had formed from the cooking of the pancetta and onion.  I decided to deglaze the pan using a splash of white wine to recover the flavors cooked into the pan, and encourage you to do the same.
4. Next, add the peppers and season with salt and pepper.  I added paprika to embrace the pepper theme.
5. Immediately add the diced tomatoes and the tomato purée.  Cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes.

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6. Add the eggs by forming wells in the mixture and cracking them within.  Cook another five minutes for the eggs to set.  Once they’ve turned a solid white and appear cooked, the dish is done.

Serve immediately.  It tastes best hot off the stove.  This recipe feeds two on its own, but could suit a group of 4-6 if paired with home fries, toast, or other breakfast accouterments.  It will not reheat well, so encourage everyone to chow down.

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Our co-kitchen companion, Ides, giving the dish a sniff for assessed allure. Seemed to pass the test, as she was quite drawn… 😉