Piperade with Baked Eggs and Crispy Pancetta

Serves 4-6

We went camping in the Pyrenees last summer, in that wonderful area known as Basque country. The food was simple but incredibly delicious, and this was a dish that really hit the spot after a long day walking. You can cook it indoors but it alsoworks brilliantly over an open fire:the touch of smokiness is perfect.


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 slices pancetta
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tsp ground fennel seeds

11⁄2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 red pepper, cut in half, deseeded, and cut into 5mm slices
1 green pepper, cut in half, deseeded, and cut into 5mm slices
4 large, juicy tomatoes, cut into 1cm-ish cubes 2 tbsp manzanilla sherry
1⁄2 tsp soft brown sugar
4-6 eggs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crisp, then remove (leaving the fat in the pan) and leave to drain on kitchen paper.

Add the onion to the pan and cook for
10 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, fennel seeds and paprika and cook for a few minutes more before stirring in the peppers, tomatoes and sherry. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the soft brown sugar and cook, uncovered for 20-25 minutes until you have a lovely, chunky sauce.

Preheat an oven to medium heat.

Turn the pan down to medium-low. Make
4-6 indents in the sauce and crack in the
eggs. Season again and pop into a medium oven, for about 8 minutes until the egg whites are just set (you can also do this under a grill).

Remove and spoon into shallow bowls, break the crispy pancetta over the top and serve. This is fantastic eaten with char-grilled slices of sourdough bread, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with more extra virgin olive oil.