Pipérade trumpets the versatility of French Basque cuisine. A simple sauté is enlivened with the local cured pork, Bayonne ham, and a spicy paprika known as piment d’Espelette. It’s great over braised chicken, but you can also heed Julia Child’s advice and use it to top a plain omelet.

What to buy: If you’re looking to save time, you can substitute a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes for the fresh; be sure to drain the canned tomatoes first.

Bayonne ham is a cured ham product from the French Basque country. If you can’t find it, substitute prosciutto.

Piment d’Espelette is France’s only native pepper, and it is so highly revered that it is protected by AOC status. It has a nice heat and is worth seeking out at a gourmet grocery or online. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute cayenne or paprika.

This dish was featured as part of our Recipes for Summer Ingredients photo gallery.

Tips for Ham TipHow to Store Ham Hams like to sweat, so it’s important to not wrap hams firmly in plastic or foil to allow a level of circulation. For ham slices, take an airtight container and place a paper towel or sheet of wax paper on the bottom. Place the ham into the lined container and top with another paper towel or sheet of wax paper. Swap the papers when damp and the ham will last three to five days.

For whole, bone-in hams, place the entire dish in a ham bag or cover with a thin dish rag. Both should be soaked in water with two tablespoons of white vinegar to preserve freshness, though it’s obviously ideal to cut the ham into smaller pieces and store using the methods above. Read More 1 of 3 Next: How to Freeze Ham TipHow to Freeze Ham The first thing you need to do is cut your ham into smaller pieces. Breaking down a ham will allow the meat to freeze easier and prevent the production of freezer burn. Place the pieces into a freezer bag and rid the bag of any excess air. Some experts recommend sucking the air out with a straw before sealing. This will ensure that it’s as close to vacuum-packed as possible. Since the ham is cooked, you should consume it within two months of freezing. Read More 2 of 3 Next: How to Thaw Ham TipHow to Thaw Ham Frozen ham, especially one that’s been cut into smaller pieces, can be easily thawed in the microwave. To speed up the process, the bag of meat can also be placed in a bowl of room-temperature water. Read More 3 of 3 Next: How to Store Ham Instructions

1Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a medium bowl halfway with ice and water. Using the tip of a knife, remove the stem and cut a shallow X-shape into the bottom of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch until the skin just starts to pucker and loosen, about 10 seconds. Drain and immediately immerse the tomatoes in the ice water bath. Using a small knife, peel the loosened skin and cut each tomato in half. With a small spoon, scrape out any seeds, then core and coarsely chop the remaining flesh. Set aside.

2Place a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ham to a plate and set aside.

3Return the pan to heat, add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and, once heated, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring rarely, until soft and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the herbs and pepper slices and season well with salt. Cover and cook, stirring rarely, until the peppers are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.

4Stir in the diced tomatoes, browned ham, and piment d’Espelette and season well with salt. Cook uncovered until the mixture melds and the juices have slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

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