Any day that starts with an egg is a great day. Yesterday, a friend came for breakfast and I didn't have a chance to go out and get anything. I had a few ripe tomatoes from the farmers' market last weekend, half a red onion, an orange bell pepper that was going to go onto a crudite platter I brought to a reunion (there was already enough orange).
I made a piperade, which is a saucy saute of peppers and tomatoes, adding some spicy, smoky dried maras peppers and a generous pinch of cumin to the pan. I soft-cooked a couple of eggs for the top. It's a dish I was recalling from one I had in Spain a couple years ago and also drawn from something I ate at Sofra Bakery recently. The real piperade begins with the pepper mixture, then eggs are added, which scramble in the pan. I prefer the version that keeps them separate. In this, the soft-cooked egg runs into the spicy saute, adding a little richness to the sauce.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, cored and cut into strips
3 ripe tomatoes, halved and thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon maras peppers or crushed red peppers
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. In a large skillet, heat the oil and when it is hot, add the onion, pepper, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, maras or red peppers, and cumin. Cook, stirring often, for 12 minutes or until the mixture is saucy. Add the vinegar and cook 3 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, maras or red papper, or vinegar, if you like.
2. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the eggs and cook exactly 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water. Let the cold tap run into the bowl for half a minute. Very gently, tap the shells with the back of a spoon. Peel carefully and transfer to a paper towel to dry.
3. Spoon the piperade onto plates, add an egg to each, and sprinkle with parsley. Sheryl Julian
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.