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Sep 9, 2007 10:29 AM

JTM - Piment d'espelette

I just came back from my tri weekly (LOL - I DO have a problem) visit, and got some for free. I was at the pepper place (I'm not as sophisticated as you guys, I don't know all the vendors' names) - the whose back gives onto Premiere moisson - and got 2 small buckets of long red peppers for roasting and marinating and then inquired if they any piment d'espelette left. The guy sent me to the counter, where another guy just reached into a bag, asked me how many I wanted (I said 5 or 6) and gave them to me. When I said how much, he said, oh you already bought stuff here (ummm, $4 worth of everyday red peppers...) just take them. Cool. Thanks..

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  1. Oh, I'm so jealous. That could be either Chez Michel or Birri.

    What are you making with them? Any great Basque recipes, whether from the French or Spanish side (or as the Basques say, the North or South side - Basques are as doggedly proud as Mohawks here, and as indifferent to official State borders)...

    4 Replies
    1. re: lagatta

      Sorry - I'm more into experimenting and creating but I'm certainly up for suggestions.

      I'm going to try something with a boneless lamb shouler. Probably make a paste with 1 or 2 of my prizes, olive oil, lime juice, a dash of cinammon, a dash of sumac.... see what else inspires me, marinate it at least 24 hours and the slow grill it on the BBQ. That's idea #1.
      Not sure what what I'll do with the others.

      1. re: maisonbistro

        This Basque quiche (savoury tart; I doubt the Basques called it a quiche) is just one version of such things with piment d'Espelette - with the fresh ones, I'd omit the chillis - you don't want to power the unique but not terribly hot Espelette flavour. You can find Basque ewe's cheeses at the Jean-Talon market (I've seen them at Capitole) but I've seen Manchego cheaper there and that would work as well.

        Here are some more suggestions (in French):

        1. re: lagatta

          Merci - Etant une bonne quebecoise, je parle les deux langues officielles.


          1. re: maisonbistro

            Yes, I try to find recipes in English though for our friends from the US, the "Rest of Canada" comme on dit, and elsewhere. But those recipes would not be hard to understand with an online translator - I really don't have time to translate everything...

            One language I definitely do NOT speak is Basque....

    2. I had to buy a little basket at Chez Michel, but the guy wound up giving me at least twice that (I buy plants and potting soil from them). I just sautéed one of the peppers with a bit of chicken in the wok upon returning, but today, as it is cooler, have set about making the vegetable tarts with piment d'Espelette. I made the appareil early this morning, and will take a break from work later on to make some kind of crust (perhaps a yeasted olive-oil one - I like that and it is less fat than a pâte brisée) and stick the tarts (two small quiche pans) in the oven.

      I go to the Jean-Talon market almost every day, but I live close by; it is simply where I do most of my shopping.

      Suppose I should cut up and simmer the rest of the peppers and freeze them in small containers, to perk up dishes in the dreary days of winter...

      8 Replies
      1. re: lagatta

        Ahhhhh, a person after my own heart. Let me know how the vegetable tarts work out. I might just give them a try.

        I'm glad I don't live close by. I would be in debt. Big debt and my husband and I would be fat. Very fat. LOL

        1. re: maisonbistro

          Actually, having lived close by for about 20 years, I mostly stick to the produce and a few favourite merchants. I can't afford all the gourmet stuff every day, either in terms of $$$ or calories and cholesterol.

          1. re: lagatta

            Unfortunately, seasonal /produce foods are my weakness. Who needs shoes, designer clothes and fancy handbags when you can get heirloom tomatoes, greek figs, that incredible big bulb garlic....well, you get my point.

            1. re: maisonbistro

              Unfortunately, seasonal produce/foods AND shoes/designer clothes are both my weaknesses...sigh...

        2. re: lagatta

          I'm about to this thanks to your post but I have one question: do you leave the seeds in or out of your peppers? And simmer with a bit of water or olive oil? Any other seasonings or just the beauties in all their glory?

          1. re: swissfoodie

            For the lamb paste I left the seeds in. I am thinking that for the tarts he might have taken the seeds out (I would) as no one really likes to eat a seed. But that's just me.

            Good luck!! report back when they're done!

            1. re: maisonbistro

              I took the seeds out for the tarts - but who is "he"? Think my webname is fairly obviously female (and feline).

              I simmered my peppers (as the skin is hard) with a bit of olive oil and some leftover white wine - sure, one can use water, but since I had a dab of white wine...

              No other seasonings, though of course seasonings could be added to a dish. I'm doing a poulet basquaise with the remaining peppers this weekeng - there will certainly be some garlic, and another dash of wine.

        3. The tarts (semi-quiches) were fine - my only concern was dosing the peppers. After cooking, they are quite mild, so I put in two - as well as some jarred skinned mild red peppers. I've made tarts like that many times - basically like a quiche though I tend to put in goat's ricotta and use less egg, so it isn't too rich. It can even be made with drained cottage cheese for people who can consume cow's milk. And I use Deborah Madison's recipe for "yeasted olive oil dough" (or crust, or whatever) - I am unsure about posting rules here but it is easily googled - in the public domain as she released it for a cooking show. It is from her book "Vegetarian cooking for everyone".

          I thinly sliced a whole white Spanish onion and seethed it a bit.

          Piment d'espelette really does have a unique flavour. I may even buy another batch this coming weekend.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lagatta

            Wasn't it a bit runny? The jarred peppers, the piments and ricotta?

            Sounds good though

            PS: I'm going back for more also

            1. re: maisonbistro

              No, I drained the ricotta first (and that goat's ricotta is much less watery than the usual kind). If you think your mixture will be a bit too runny, you can always stir a bit of flour into it.

              Like anything else of that kind, you have to make it a few times before you get a sense of the texture the mixture should have.

          2. I dont want to brag, but I was in Espelette, in the Pyrenee , just last week. Piment d'espellette is an AOC , so I guess what we buy here is from seeds from Piment d,Espelette, but shouldnt be called so. I am not picky , so I will still calle it Piment d'espelette.

            While in the village , I bought some sel de bayonne with piment d'espellette ans saucissons with piment d'espelette. The village is charming , with white houses covered with red piment drying in the sun

            10 Replies
            1. re: toto

              Yes, you are correct, Piment d'espelette is an AOC in France and probably within the European Union. If we want to be technical, they are Basque peppers of the Espelette variety, I guess.

              Those white houses are typically Basque, and are found on both sides of the border. Basques are famous for their gastronomic societies - originally men-only, though that has changed in some cases.

              How about doing a trip report on the appropriate board?

              1. re: lagatta

                I will, with a nice find in Paris !!!!

                1. re: lagatta

                  The trip report is now on the France board !

                  1. re: toto

                    I found some AOC pimente d'espelette in Quebec City and it was WAY expensive! I am ashamed to admit I paid $15 for a small jar. In Montreal I found an epicier near JTM and paid about $2 for some I found in bulk. Did I get taken?

                    1. re: johnmart11

                      Let me count the ways.....

                      But don't cry over spilled milk - life's too short, and you have PIMENTS

                      What are you planning on doing with them??

                      1. re: maisonbistro

                        Are you still counting? What I have is the ground peppers. Any recommendations?

                        1. re: johnmart11

                          You can use the stuff in many ways - as you would any pepper-based seasoning. It's like a paprika, but with more depth, not really sweet nor spicy. One of my favourite uses is tossing new potatoes with olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and piment d'espelette, and grilling them, but there are tons of things you can do with it.
                          It would be interesting to compare the two you bought, taste-wise, to see the difference - I am guessing the second powder is not going to taste anything like the first.

                          1. re: cherylmtl

                            Thanks, the potato ideas sounds great. I sprinkled a little on some pizza the other night just to see what it was like and it seemed to have a great flavor. I thought I'd work with the cheap stuff and then break out the AOC.

                      2. re: johnmart11

                        $10-15 a jar is pretty much standard. $2 should set alarm bells ringing; it's probably made from Espelette peppers grown outside the AOC or even other varieties.

                        Lots of Basque and modern French recipes call for it -- Google is your friend. It seems to have an affinity for lamb. Last year I made a delicious roasted leg of suckling lamb marinated in yogurt with Espelette pepper and other spices. Try sprinkling some on salmon or other seafood before roasting, grilling or broiling. You can also use it at table instead of black pepper.

                        1. re: johnmart11

                          In espelette , I bought a mix of Piment d.Espelette and Sel de Bayonne.

                          I rub it on pork before grilling , and it taste like the pork I've eaten in the Pays basque. Also delicious on steak before grilling !