I recently spoke with Terry Paulding who owns Paulding & Company, a Creative Kitchen in Emeryville, California. We got to talking a bit about chili peppers and I asked if she would be interested in a guest post with one of her favorite recipes. Here is the result.
Eggs, Chilies and Tomatoes
Yield: one portion
- 2 tsp. butter
- 2 ripe, flavorful tomatoes (or ¾ cup top-quality canned tomatoes)
- Your favorite fresh chili pepper, chopped (you pick the amount!)
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 2 farm-fresh eggs
- Toast (optional)
Peel the tomatoes if desired by cutting a X in the base and blanching for 20 seconds in boiling water, then slipping off the skins. Melt the butter in a small non-aluminum (or non-stick) frying pan, dice up the tomatoes and add them, along with the chili. Sauté over medium-high heat until the tomatoes are bubbly and a little reduced, seasoning well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Crack two farm-fresh eggs into the pan, season with a little salt and pepper, turn the heat down and cover. Cook until the eggs are done to your liking, then slide into a flat soup plate, or onto a piece of toast if you prefer.
This dish relies on great tomatoes and farm eggs, and of course, good chilies. I grow Aji Lucento, a perennial Ecuadorean pepper that does quite well in the sunny SF Bay Area. Kassenhoff Growers was the supplier for this stellar plant, and I know they have one that’s now 16 feet high, although mine seem to need the support of tomato cages, and have only achieved three feet in the three years I’ve been growing them. It’s a spicy, meaty pepper, and I love it red and ripe rather than green. I use only a small piece of a pepper in each batch of this dish, and I love heat. They’re not habanero hot, but they are definitely quite spicy!
The other thing I do so I can make this all year, is freeze dry farmed Early Girl tomatoes at their peak — throw ‘em into zip bags, unwashed and “IQF” them. I have a walk-in freezer, which helps…I save a couple hundred pounds a year this way, and have luscious tomatoes for cooking, whenever I need them. All I do is run under warm water to slip off the skins, then cut them up and get cooking. This is a tomato that only does well in our area, but if you find another dense fleshed tomato with thick skin, try my method.
About the author
Terry Paulding owns Paulding & Company, a Creative Kitchen in Emeryville, California. Her kitchen, home to Top Chef’s first season (yes, Top Chef SF was shot in Emeryville!) and featured in the movie Hereafter, directed by Clint Eastwood, hosts cooking parties, corporate team building events, and a variety of cooking classes, plus Cook! Programs, a summer camp for 9-18 year old aspiring chefs, run by Terry’s daughter, Tracy Cates. Terry has been cooking for more years than she wants to admit, with a restaurant career tucked into her distant past, and a 20-year stint teaching adult school “basic” cooking. Among her proud accomplishments is a credit on Rataouille, where she taught the animators hands-on cooking skills. A lover of fresh, local and spicy food, Terry has also bottled her own very-small-batch hot sauce using a recipe from Chili Pepper Madness, the year her two Aji Lucento plants produced enough to do so.