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RBR Tailgate: Piperade with Potatoes Dauphiniose

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That’s foreign talk for Brunch.

CB969 mentioned that I should do a brunch this year for one of the early games and since this week is an away trip, I figured to oblidge.

On a trip through Boise, of all places, I fell in love with Basque cooking. As it turns out, Boise, pronounced by blue turf loving locals as BOY-see, is home to one of the largest ethnically Basque communities outside of Basque proper. In “The Basque Block” of Boise, a downtown region full of restaurants and other attractions, I had Hake simmered in white wine and topped with a poached egg. A fellow diner had one of the most amazing lamb stews I’ve ever come across. Paprika, eggs, and peppers are everywhere. I could be very happy in Basque country.

Piperade is a traditional dish from the region and I topped it with an egg because that sounded like great morning fare to me. Done right, it’s spicy and refreshing and a great pick me up if you rise less than raring. I paired it with potatoes duphinoise, which is less Basque. It’s French, simple, and rich and can be cooked the night before and all that cream and cheese is a great counter to the spicy piperade.

The important thing is that this is an away game. In no way am I tempting students, famous for their culinary experimentation, to spend pre-game time in the kitchen that would be better spent walking to the end zone seats they are not entitled to. We all do our part.

I’m fairly certain that in industrial towns with factories that run three shifts to stay open twenty-four/seven there is a more accepting attitude to drinking in the morning. Someone has to work from midnight to eight and there’s no reason he shouldn’t have a beer at the end of a shift like everybody else, even if the sun just came up.

For the wider, non industrial nation, there are really only three acceptable times to have a tipple in the am. Morning weddings are one, but this is the fall and so that only happens on bye weeks. The other two are at brunch and before a sporting event so if what you’re looking for is an excuse to kick back a few while watching Gameday, today’s tailgate may be a redundancy better held back and tried on a weekend where we get a better time slot. That’s a fair move, but you gotta eat one way or the other and this stuff is really good.

Potatoes Dauphinoise

- Russet potatoes, thinly scalloped

- Gruyere cheese, grated

- heavy cream

- salt & pepper to taste

Soak the scalloped potatoes for five minutes in room temperature water to get rid of excess starch and pat dry.

Salt and pepper to taste and top with cheese.

Repeat at least three times.

Add cream to until it just reaches the is level with, but not covering the potatoes.

Bake in an oven pre-heated to 400˚F until golden brown on top, roughly for 30-35 minutes in an 8”x8” pan or 40 - 45 minutes in a 9” x 13” pan.

These are good to go right out of the oven but can also be made the night before, refrigerated, and reheated in the morning. I’m fine serving them cold too if that’s your mood.

Piperade

- eggs

- yellow onion, sliced

- jalapeno or other hot pepper, sliced

- bell pepper, sliced

- garlic, smashed

- Roma tomato, rough cut

- dry white wine

- hot paprika

- olive oil

- flat leaf parsley, chopped

- salt & pepper to taste

Proportions are up to you. Just keep in mind that you need one egg per person. Otherwise, if you like it hot, go crazy on the spicy peppers. If you like it garlicky… etc. I do like to hold back the seeds of the hot peppers and add them if and as needed. I’d also put no more than a teaspoon of paprika in at a time, wait a few minutes, taste, and add as needed.

Add a few glugs of olive oil to a wide skillet and over medium heat, start to sauté the onion.

When the onion is starting to go translucent and some bits begin to brown, add the garlic, hot and bell peppers, and tomatoes.

As the peppers soften, add about half to and inch of wine but don’t pour so much that everything is submerged. Turn the heat up to high and stir occasionally until the wine is almost evaporated. Stir in paprika.

Crack an egg for each person atop the vegetables and transfer to a pre-heated oven, again at 400˚F, for two or three minutes until the egg whites set but be careful to keep the yolks runny.

Serve piperade over potatoes with a sprinkle of parsley. A side of bacon always makes things better.

I usually say something about our opponent at the end of these, but I’m not sure what to say about Arkansas. I will say that Waddle should make big exaggerated fair catch signals. I get the argument to the contrary, but I’m betting their coaches laid into them after North Texas and unless they are certain, they are going to hit anybody receiving a punt. Other than that, what? Arkansas is in a much worse rebuild than I thought. Let’s work on our running defense, be amazed at one of the most astonishing teams I’ve ever seen, and get to the end of this I guess.

Enjoy, no injuries, and Roll Tide.