Monday, September 30, 2013


Last Saturday, the red peppers were in, and everyone was buying sacks of them to make ajvar. When I came upon this situation 15 years ago in Skopje, I decided to buy one pepper to see what all the fuss was about, and the seller treated me with disdain: "One pepper," she sneered, taking a break from doling out orders of multiple kilograms.

Pepper bazar BulgariaMy friend's father used to always ask me to tell that story when we came over to her house for dinner: he never failed to be amused by the idea of buying a single pepper.

So, mindful of this transgression, I bought half a dozen last Saturday, along with a kilo of tomatoes. Nobody said a word and I returned home with my dignity intact.

Except I forgot about them, and yesterday I found myself with an abundance of vegetables in the fridge that weren't getting any younger; so I decided to make some piperade. I had planned to serve it alonsgide some lamb chops or chicken, but the weather was so miserable yesterday that I spent the day indoors, and chose instead, to serve it over boiled potatoes. I'll do the same tonight with the leftovers, over rice or pasta, and this site has lots of other idea.


Peel and dice six tomatoes (take off the stem, cut an X in the other side, put them in boiling water for ten seconds, and then into a bowl of ice water. When they have cooled, the skins can be easily pulled off). Heat some olive oil in a pan, and add some prosciutto, chopped. When it has crisped up, remove it with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add 2 medium onions, chopped and saute until they are translucent. Add 2 cloves of garlic, minced, 2 tbs smoked paprika, a pinch of red pepper flakes and 3 red peppers, diced. Add prosciutto, salt and tomatoes (you could use canned and no-one would notice). Simmer for ten minutes.

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