Today, I'm thrilled to share a culinary treasure, an authentic unique Aromanian recipe, called Piperchi țârgâsiti.
What is Piperchi țârgâsiti
This traditional Aromanian dish, a staple in the Dobrogea region of Romania, is a delightful blend of fried peppers, ripe tomatoes, eggs, and Feta cheese, simmered to create a unique and delicious summer meal. It is easy to make, rich and satisfying.
Key ingredients like red peppers, which are known for their unique sweet flavor, are combined with either freshly-picked, juicy tomatoes or the convenience of canned ones, cooked together to create a sauce that is thickened with eggs and Feta cheese (Telemea), a staple in Romanian cuisine. the eggs and the cheese add a creamy texture.
Piperchi țârgâsiti can be enjoyed with either regular or toasted bread, as an ideal vegetarian meal for either lunch or dinner.
Related: Check out my recipe for Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew
What Are Aromanians
We talked about this recipe as being Aromanian, but what are Aromanians? Aromanians are an ethnic group in the Balkans, particularly found in countries like Greece, North Macedonia, Albania, and Romania. They speak Aromanian, a language closely related to Romanian.
Historically, they've been shepherds and traders and have a rich cultural heritage influenced by various Balkan traditions. Aromanians have their distinct identity, though they share some linguistic and cultural ties with Romanians. They are known for preserving their traditional way of life and customs, despite influences from neighboring cultures.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Easy to Make: With straightforward, readily available ingredients, this recipe is both simple and quick to prepare.
- Flavorful Delight: The blend of sweet peppers, tangy tomatoes, creamy Feta, and eggs creates a comforting and satisfying taste that's sure to please.
- Flexible Serving: Perfect for any meal, this dish can be enjoyed warm or cold, making it a versatile choice for any occasion.
Peppers: I used red pepper. What you see in the picture is a cousin of the red bell pepper, called "gogosar" and it is a mild, sweet pepper that is very popular in Eastern Europe.
Tomatoes: I prefer fresh tomatoes, but there are times in our life when fresh is not always available, so you can definitely go for a can of diced tomatoes or crushed ones.
Eggs: Large eggs are added to the dish after cooking the peppers and the tomatoes together.
Feta cheese: For this dish, you need the right Feta cheese – the kind that's salty, made from sheep or goat milk. In the U.S., try to skip the pre-crumbled Feta you see in stores. It's not the best for this recipe.
Look for Feta from places like Greece or Bulgaria. These countries know their cheese, and it makes a difference. Don't go for the shredded stuff in bags; you want real, block Feta.
I always say, good food starts with good ingredients. This dish might remind you of Shakshouka, but trust me, it's different. The eggs mix right in with the peppers, tomatoes, and cheese. Quality matters here, so choose your cheese wisely.
How to make this recipe
Step 1. Prepare the Vegetables: Begin by washing the peppers, removing the seeds, and chopping them into bite-sized pieces. Next, prepare the tomatoes: chop them as well, and if you prefer them without skins, simply blanch them in hot water for easy peeling.
Step 2. Fry the Peppers: Heat your skillet with olive or sunflower oil. Add the chopped peppers and sauté them until they turn slightly translucent, which indicates they're releasing their flavors.
Step 3. Add Tomatoes: Now, bring in the chopped (or canned, if you're using those) tomatoes to the skillet with the peppers. Let them cook together, stirring occasionally. Season with salt.
Step 4. Incorporate Cheese: Once your peppers and tomatoes have simmered into a sauce-like consistency, it's time for the cheese. Crumble or chop your cheese and sprinkle it into the pan, letting it melt and blend with the other ingredients.
Step 5. Add the Eggs: Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then pour them over the vegetables and cheese in the skillet. Gently mix everything to ensure the eggs are well incorporated into the sauce.
Step 6. Final Touches: Just before serving, garnish the dish with freshly chopped parsley. This dish is versatile and can be enjoyed warm or cold, as per your preference.
This dish is meant to have a rich, creamy consistency, thickened with eggs and cheese, rather than resembling an omelet. The goal is to create a lush sauce that beautifully coats the peppers and tomatoes.
When do you serve this dish?
This dish, Piperchi țârgâsiti, is versatile in how it can be served. It can be enjoyed warm, as a perfect comforting meal. Alternatively, it's also delicious when served cold, making it a great option for a make-ahead meal or for those warm summer days.
It pairs beautifully with fresh bread, which complements the flavors and textures of the peppers, tomatoes, eggs, and cheese. Whether you choose to serve it as a main dish or as a hearty side, it's sure to be a delightful addition to your table.
More Eastern European Recipes
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Balkan Pepper & Tomato Sauté (Piperchi țârgâsiti)
- 3 medium bell peppers red are my favorite, use what you have available
- 3-4 medium tomatoes or a can of 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
- 2-3 large eggs
- 8 ounces Feta cheese sheep or goat are the best, but cow cheese is fine as well
- 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
- Salt and pepper to your taste
- Prepare Peppers and Tomatoes: Start by washing and seeding the peppers, then chopping them into bite-sized pieces. For the tomatoes, chop them as well, and if you prefer them without skins, blanch in hot water for easy peeling.
- Cook the Peppers: Heat a skillet on the stove with olive or sunflower oil. Add the peppers and cook until they become translucent, indicating they are releasing their flavors.
- Add Tomatoes to Peppers: Introduce the chopped or canned tomatoes to the skillet with the peppers. Allow them to cook together, stirring occasionally.
- Simmer the Mixture: Let the mixture simmer until the peppers are softer, and a sauce-like consistency is formed.
- Add Cheese: Crumble or chop the Feta cheese and add it to the pan, allowing it to warm up and blend with the vegetables.
- Incorporate the Eggs: Beat the eggs and gently mix them into the pan, combining them thoroughly with the sauce.
- Garnish and Serve: Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over the dish before serving. This dish can be served warm or cold.