Saturday, January 24, 2009

Piment d' Espelette ; Doux des Landes

Piment d' Espelette

Most tomato growers also grow peppers. They just belong together like salt and pepper.
Seems I have neglected to give much attention to the peppers. I'm going to do better. I'm going to start with a little info on two of my favorite French peppers.

Piment D' Espelette--Piment d'Espelette literally means “pepper of Espelette” in French. It is a food product produced around the town of Espelette in Southern France, in the region sometimes known as Basque Country. This pepper is so famous that in 1999 AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlee), was granted to Espelette peppers, or "Ezpeletako bipera" in Basque language, giving it the same protection as more famous names, such as Champagne and Roquefort . Only ten communities are allowed to use the name Espelette.Piment d’ Espelette is most commonly strung up to dry and ground into a powder and is often used as a substitute for black pepper in the Basque country and in common Basque dishes.Once harvested, they are threaded by hand and hung on the facades of buildings to dry in the sun -- this initial process takes about two months. After being dried a second time in wood-fired ovens, the peppers are ground into a fine powder. Every October, Espelette and surrounding villages hold a festival honoring the finished product -- a celebration complete with parades, dancing and cooking competitions.
Espelette’s hotness falls between sweet bell pepper and Cayenne. It has a rich, round deep flavor with heat present, lifting flavor, but not intrusive.PIMENT d'Espelette is to French Basque cooking what curry is to Indian cuisine.
Doux des Landes This is another pepper from France. It translates Long from Landes. Honestly, it is the longest pepper I have ever seen. It is a sweet pepper and turns from green to red. Also from the Basque region, it is sometimes called a Basque fryer. A delicious, sweet pepper, it is used in many basque recipes including piperade. Can also be eaten fresh or sautéed. Landes is in the South West of France also know as the home of Our Lady of Lourdes. I personally like to use this pepper as a fryer or diced up in my tomato salad.