This pepper sauce recipe is a traditional sauce from the northern region of Spain called the Basque Country, or el Pais Vasco. For centuries a region of humble farmers and fishermen, in the past 25 years, the Basque cuisine has become famous on an international level, due to innovative creations of Spanish chefs. It has also become well known for its pinchos (Basque for tapas), however, the Basque cuisine offers much more. High-quality fresh seafood, meat and game, mushrooms and wine, and refined sauces are prepared there.
The pepper sauce, or piperrada, is made with onions, peppers, and tomatoes although like most traditional dishes ingredients and proportions can vary. Common variations in the sauce include garlic and/or Serrano ham. Piperrada sauce often accompanies grilled or roast meat or fish, particularly tuna or salt cod (bacalao). In the Basque Country, it is also frequently served as a first course with eggs. Easy to prepare and full of flavor, this sauce can be made ahead of time and will keep well for several days in the refrigerator.
More Traditional Spanish Sauces
Here are several more traditional sauces from the various regions of Spain:
- 1 large onion
- 1 medium sweet red pepper
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ripe round large tomatoes
- Optional: 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- First, prepare the vegetables. Peel and julienne the onion and peppers. Finely chop the garlic. Cut each tomato into six to eight pieces.
- Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into a deep skillet 9-10 inches wide. Sauté the onion for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the peppers and garlic, and continue to sauté, adding more oil if necessary.
- When peppers are softened, add the tomato chunks and continue to cook on medium until onions are almost caramelized and peppers are cooked. Add a small amount of tomato sauce to create a smoother sauce. (You can add a small bit of water to loosen vegetables from the pan as you move them with a spatula.) Salt to taste.
- Serve with fish, grilled meat or eggs. Accompany with slices of rustic bread.