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Fried Mountain Ham with Piquillo Peppers

Fried Mountain Ham with Piquillo Peppers

Fried Mountain Ham with Piquillo Peppers

This is a tasty little number that I stole from a local restaurant. I didn't ask for the recipe but re-created it over a few months as it took a while to get the sauce right.
Should have just asked for the recipe!
It's a fantastic dish (in my opinion) and one I go back to every time I visit the restaurant. Along with a glass of wine and some crusty bread this is the perfect starter.

The dish is simple but there is a bit of work involved. Nothing too serious just preparation and if you miss the steps then you won't do the "simple" dish justice.

The dish revolves around mountain or dried ham and Piquillo peppers - both of which are common in the Pyrénées where I live.

Piquillo Peppers are sweet version of a chili without the heat and are commonly grown in Northern Spain and along the Pyrénéan mountains. They are incredibly versatile for cooking purposes and they taste great. You may have to go to a specialty store to find them as i'm not sure if every day supermarkets supply them but if you can get them then this dish is for you. You can always buy them buy using the Amazon links on the side of this page.

For the mountain or dried ham - I use unsmoked as I prefer the taste but it will work just as well with smoked, especially as Piquillos are typically roasted prior to canning.
You can use any dried ham for this, just be careful of the salt content. Don't add any salt to the sauce until you have tasted the ham as some of it can be super salty.

Fried Mountain Ham with Piquillo Peppers
Fried Mountain Ham with Piquillo Peppers
Ingredients: 

Recipe for 4 portions

8 thin slices dried cured ham - unsmoked
2 jars whole Piquillo Peppers
1 red Bell Pepper - roasted, peeled, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1 small Onion - chopped finely
1 small stick Celery - chopped finely
4 med Tomatoes - roughly chopped
Small pinch dried Chili flakes
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and fresh ground Pepper to season
Chopped fresh Parsley
Water

The Mix: 

Open the piquillos, take 8 peppers and put to one side
Roughly chop remaining piquillos
Put olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add chili, onions and celery - cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften
Add tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes on low heat
Add chopped piquillos and bell pepper and 100ml water, cook for another 5 minutes
Blend tomato mixture until smooth either with a hand blender or food processor
Take tomato mixture and pass through a sieve to get the last remaining seeds and skins out
Return smooth mixture to a clean saucepan and reheat
Adjust seasoning and thickness by adding water if needed - consistency should be medium thickness but not stodgy or too runny
Keep sauce warm by simmering gently

Heat a frying pan over a high heat then turn to medium
Add mountain ham, crumpled rather than flat - cook for 2 minutes on each side until fat starts to render

THIS WILL SMOKE, TURN YOUR EXTRACTOR FAN ON!

Once ham is cooked to your preference (I like mine pretty crispy) put on a plate and keep warm

Keep frying pan hot
Put the 8 piquillo peppers into the frying pan and cook for 45 seconds on each side

The dish is now ready to serve

Place a large ladle of sauce in the middle of a large flat plate - this should spread covering most of the plate
Place the mountain ham in a pile in the middle of the plate and arrange 2 piquillo peppers per serving either side
Sprinkle liberally with parsley and serve with chunks of crusty bread

Bon appetit

Drink This: 

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