This blog was inspired by Food52 and a recipe by Jean Anderson taken from her cookbook “The Food of Portugal” (or is it Brazil given the spelling of pepper?). I suspect that many of you will already be familiar with Food52 but if not be sure to check out their web site with its wonderful recipes, inspirational photography (consistently well lit and styled but never, as is so often the case, over propped) and not to forget the amazing array of kitchen and dining “essentials” that they sell. I count myself lucky that they are not based here in the UK or I would be even more cash strapped than I am today faced with such temptations. I have always been attracted to what can be best described as kitchen paraphernalia but as I have become more and more involved with food photography my collecting of plates, cutlery, glasses, pans, etc, etc seemingly has no bounds! After all, it will all find its way into a shoot sooner or later!
But to return to the recipe; peppers have long been a favourite of mine both to photograph and to eat so this recipe was clearly a “must try” all the more because of its simplicity. You can find the recipe here but essentially it involves little more than cutting the peppers into strips and placing them in a bowl with sea salt between each layer and leaving uncovered for at least 12 hours.
Any excess liquid is then poured off and the peppers roasted at 125oC for about two to two and a half hours after which the skins are removed
and the pulp homogenised together with a clove of garlic and a little olive oil.
By the time all of this was done the air in the studio was heady with the smell of roast peppers and I had a satisfactory stash of paste set aside to use over the weekend as a marinade and sauce as well as a number of new pictures taken along the way.
Egg and cheese omelette with a tomato, jalapeño pepper and dry Greek style black olive salsa on toasted Ciabatta with basil, salt and pepper to taste; this simple dish is guaranteed to put a spring in your step! The Greek style dry black olives are quite salty and work brilliantly with the tomatoes while the jalapeño peppers add a real zing to the dish; personally I don’t like my food too hot and spicy so I am always careful to remove any seeds from the peppers but that is just a matter of taste. The salsa can be made beforehand and will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, it also makes a great standalone snack served as a brushetta on slices of toasted Ciabatta and a drizzle of olive oil together with a glass or two of crisp dry white wine.
Sloppy Omelette with a Fiery Salsa
Preparation 10 minutes; Cooking time 5 minutes. Serves 2
8 small tomatoes (Perino tomatoes from Tesco are ideal)
6 jalapeño pepper slices
6 Greek style dry black olives
1 desert spoon full of freshly chopped coriander leaves (optional)
1 clove garlic finely chopped (optional)
extra virgin olive oil
4 eggs (Clarence Court, Burford Brown eggs with their rich yellow yolks are my favourite)
40 g Orkney coloured cheddar (this yellow cheese adds to the already rich yellow of the egg yolks)
bread for toasting (Ciabatta works well)
sea salt (Maldon)
black pepper (freshly ground in a pestle and mortar – try it; it is so much more pungent this way!)
To prepare the salsa dice the tomatoes (even using a sharp knife you will find it easier to cut the tomato with the skin side facing downwards)
Take 6 or so slices of jalapeño peppers from the jar (no fingers, use chop sticks!) and remove the seeds before dicing them as well.
Cut the flesh off the olives and discard the stones and finely chop.
Add the chopped coriander leaves and / or finely chopped garlic if using and mix all of the ingredients. I usually do this using a large knife scooping the salsa on to the blade of the knife and turning the salsa until it is uniformly mixed.
Finally place the salsa in a small bowl and set aside until required or if it is being made in advance cover and place in the refrigerator.
To prepare the omelette add a glug of olive oil to a frying pan ( a 21 cm pan will be ideal) and using a paper towel wipe the oil over the inside of the pan so a to create a uniform thin-film.
Place the pan on the stove over a medium heat.
Meanwhile crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk (use the chop sticks that you used to get the peppers out of the jar) and pour into the frying pan and grate the cheese onto the top of the egg mix.
Cut 4 slices of Ciabatta and toast and at the same time put two serving plates in the microwave to warm (2 minutes at full power will be ample)
As the omelette begins to cook continually draw the edges of the omelette into the centre of the pan using a narrow (5 cm) wooden straight ended spatula.
Once the plates have warmed and the toast is ready the omelette should be cooked and ready to serve; take it off the heat so that it doesn’t become over cooked and dry.
Place two slices of toasted Ciabatta onto each plate and top with omelette and a teaspoon full or two of salsa.
Garnish with basil and add salt and pepper to taste