Basque chefs know how to prepare the very best vegetarian meals. They do imaginative things with mushrooms, tomatoes and peppers.
Here is a classic dish from the region, an omelette like no other, using bell peppers and an aubergine.
- 1 aubergine, diced
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 onion, finely sliced into half moon shapes
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 red and 1 green pepper bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 1 large tomato skinned, deseeded and chopped
- 4 free range eggs, lightly beaten to blend
- Salt and chilli powder
Heat half the oil in an earthenware cazuela or heavy iron pan. Add the sliced onion and chopped garlic, salt lightly and cook gently for at least 20 minutes until they soften and brown a little. Be sure not to let them burn. Remove to a sieve placed over a bowl in order to catch the drippings.
Reheat the pan with the remaining oil and add the diced aubergine. Cook until soft and lightly caramelized at the edges (return the drippings to the pan as soon as they are available). Remove the aubergine and reserve.
Add the pepper and turn it in the hot oil until it has softened and taken a little colour. Add the tomato and bubble up for a minute or two, until the flesh begins to collapse. Return the reserved vegetables to the pan and reheat. Season with salt and a little chilli powder.
Fold the eggs into the vegetables and stir over a gentle heat while the eggs form soft curds. This should take no more than two minutes. Remove from the heat.