Piperade is a restaurant owned and operated by Chef Gerald Hirigoyen. The restaurant features what Hirigoyen calls "West Coast Basque Cuisine." A native of the Basque Region, Hirigoyen has twice been named Best Chef in the Bay Area by San Francisco Magazine and was one of Food & Wine Magazine's Top New Chefs in America. He has also received numerous write ups and recommendations from publications such as the New York Times, Bon Appetit, SF Examiner and many more.
The Basque Country is a nation that runs along the border of Spain and France. The Greater Basque Country also includes some areas in both aforementioned countries. Naturally, the cuisine in this region has strong Spanish and French influence, but there are also many regional specialties unique to the Basque country influenced by the mountainous regions on one side and the ocean on the other. Fresh and Salted Seafood, Cured Meats, Peppers, Lamb, Ciders, and Sheep Cheeses are staples of the Basque diet.
We started of our meal with two of the small plates: Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins and the Calamari "A La Plancha" with cantaloupe, mint and lemon confit
|Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins|
|Calamari " A La Plancha" with cantaloupe, mint and lemon confit|
For Dessert I had the Orange Blossom Beignets, which were crispy, light and perfect. In the photo there is only two of them, but originally there were three, I just couldn't wait to eat one. They were the perfect end to a wonderful meal.
|Orange Blossom Beignets|
|Here you can see by the expression on my face how satisfied I am with the stuffed pepper.|
|"Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition"|
Exactly what I was looking for! So I got right to work. I started off by going to the store to see what was fresh. I ended up getting some Sea Scallops and Calimari tubes and tentacles. I decided to make the Scallops with Lychee Gazpacho and the Fried Calamari with Romesco Sauce. Both recipes turned out to be very satisfying and have me looking forward to trying our more recipes from this book. The mistake I made was trying to make the Lychee Gazpacho when Lychees are not in season. I used canned Lychees, which I can only imagine, could not compare in flavor or texture to the fresh fruit. Do not make this mistake. The Calamari turned out wonderful, though Milana said I put too much salt (I did not agree).
|Coating the Calamari in Rice Flour|
|Broiling the Tomatoes and Peppers for the Romesco Sauce|
|Scallops with Lychee Gazpacho|
|Fried Calamari with Romesco Sauce|
Of course, I had to make a few substitutions for ingredients I could not immediately find, like the Pimente D'Espelette, which he specifically says there is no suitable replacement for. Regardless, I used another smoked Spanish Paprika in its place. For the most part I followed the recipes exactly and so I will not post them here, but I encourage everyone interested to go pick up this cookbook or have a meal at Piperade. As I learn more about this type of cuisine, I will undoubtedly figure out my own way of doing things and have variations of classic recipes that will be mine that I can post here for your reading enjoyment.