Pisto for those who don’t know what it is… it’s not a weapon, let’s start there. It’s not pesto either (although the french make pistou which is basically pesto). Ok, pisto is more closely related to ratatouille. It’s pretty much the same ingredients and preparation process and just like anything else, there are ton of variations and interpretations. Ingredients include tomatoes, bell peppers, courgettes, onions, garlic, I’m sure even eggplant makes the list. Everything is cooked in olive oil, slowly and gently sautéed and carefully fine tuned with sherry vinegar and salt.
Tonight I decided to leave out a few things and focus on a winning combination that I’ve known since I was little. Onion, garlic and bell peppers. Why would anyone leave tomatoes out of the equation. Ok.. so firstly, I didn’t have any and secondly… have you ever tried pisto with no tomatoes. If you haven’t you’ll be happily surprised. If you never had pisto before then you have only but winning chances here.
It’s amazing, delicious, sweet and tender. It’s also the dream companion for eggs which happen to be my favorite ingredient. This time I poached them in classic style, simmering water with a splash of champagne vinegar to help set the whites a little quicker. I usually have it with sunnies but the elegance of a poached egg is hard to argue. And if you’re wondering what else can go well with pisto. Try it on some warm french bread, yeah, thank me in the morning. Rice… omg. Pasta… yes please. On top of a sizzling rare steak, ok , we gotta talk. The list goes on.
Let me tell you a secret about pisto. It happens to age amazingly well in the fridge over the course of a few days up to a week or 2 if kept in an airtight container. The “worst” that can happen is that it starts to ferment in which case boys and girls… let it ferment away… you might end up with something even more amazing. But let’s stick to the plan here. I’ll use a recipe card and go over this in more detail and I hope you enjoy it. Cheers guys!
- 1-5 fresh egg at room temperature.
- 4-5 large red bell peppers. Thinly sliced.
- 2 large yellow onions. Thinly sliced.
- 5 large garlic cloves. Thinly sliced.
- 1 or 2 Tbsp of good EVO.
- Pedro Ximenez Sherry wine to taste.
- Champagne vinegar to taste.
- Salt to taste.
- Splash of hot sauce. optional but also.. to taste!
- Cherry tomatoes and baby basil leaves for garnishing.
- Add the EVO to big heavy bottomed pot over medium low heat.
- Add the veggies.
- Sprinkle some salt and add the hot sauce if using any.
- Sweat slowly over the course of 40 minutes or so until the veggies are very soft and fragrant. Stir occasionally. Don't let anything brown. It's not about that.
- Add a splash of sherry vinegar and champagne vinegar at the beginning of the cooking.
- Check the taste at the end and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- I like to use vinegars frequently when I cook. Works great to cut the sweetness of bell peppers in this case.
- By now, most of the liquid should have evaporated and the vegetables should be very soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes. You can store it hot in the fridge, that's fine too. But I like to let it get to room temperature and get some air exposure before I store it. Promotes that lacto-fermentation that tastes so good. But anyways, you don't need to worry about that. And it should be good to use right away too.
- Make sure those eggs are at room temperature. They will cook more evenly and you won't run the risk of overcooking the whites while the yolks are totally cold and runny.
- Setup a medium size pot, filled with water.
- Bring to a simmer.
- Add a splash of champagne vinegar (any white vinegar should do)
- Carefully crack the eggs and dump them in the water.
- Use a ladle if you want to be more gentle. Place the egg in the ladle and lower the ladle into the simmering water. You could stir the water prior to lowering the eggs so they don't sink and stick at the bottom.
- Poaching eggs it is a craft and only practice can help here. Fear is not an option.
- After about 30 seconds or so, fish those eggs out using a spider strainer, a big slotted spoon or a similar tool.
- Place over paper towels and get ready to plate.
- Before you poach the eggs, plate the rest of the dish. Make a pisto bed warm or cold. I used cold pisto because I love it. Dice a few tomatoes, drizzle some olive oil and you're almost done.
- Carefully transfer the recently poached egg and place it over the pisto bed. Salt and pepper if you like as you like. Enjoy.