Open-faced Omelette Garnished with Onions, Peppers, Tomatoes, and Ham

Pipérade
[Open-faced Omelette Garnished with Onions, Peppers, Tomatoes, and Ham]

This is a Basque specialty, and quick to make if the pipérade mixture has been prepared in advance. As the omelette is not folded, and is served in its cooking vessel, it is not a disaster if it sticks a little on the bottom. You may therefore cook the eggs in a low, glazed pottery dish, or a fancy skillet.
For 4 to 6 servings

8 to 12 strips of ham 1/4 inch thick and about 2 by 3 inches across
2 Tb olive oil or butter
An 8- to 9-inch enameled skillet

Brown the ham slices lightly on both sides in hot oil or butter. Set them aside, and reheat just before using them at the end of the recipe.

1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onions
1/2 cup thinly sliced green or red bell peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
In the same oil or butter in which you browned the ham, cook the onions and peppers slowly, covering the skillet, until they are tender but not browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

1/2 clove mashed garlic
Speck of cayenne pepper
2 or 3 firm, ripe, red tomatoes peeled, seeded, juiced and sliced, page 505
Salt and pepper

Stir in the garlic and pepper. Lay the tomatoes over the onions and sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook slowly for 5 minutes. Uncover, raise heat, and a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally until the juice from the tomatoes has almost entirely evaporated. Season to taste, and reheat just before using. (*) Recipe may be prepared ahead to this point.

1 1/2 Tb olive oil or butter
An 11- to 12-inch serving skillet or shallow, fireproof serving dish
8 to 10 eggs beaten lightly with 1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper
A large table fork
2 to 3 Tb minced parsley or mixed fresh green herbs

Heat the oil or butter in the skillet or dish. When very hot, pour in the eggs. Stir rapidly with a fork until the eggs have just set into a creamy mass. Remove from heat and spread over them the hot pipérade, mixing a bit of it delicately into the eggs. Lay the warm ham strips over the pipérade. Sprinkle with the herbs and serve immediately.

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