Liver cleansing recipes can seem difficult to find with all the restrictions on eggs, dairy, red meat and chicken as well as all the chemicals and other additives. If we look to other cultures for ideas we may be surprised at exactly how much variety is available for those on restricted diets. French cuisine is not something we would normally associate with dieting since it is renowned for being very rich and decadent. However towards the south of France the food becomes Mediterranean, and in the southwest corner it also becomes spicier due to the influence of the Basque people.
The village of Espelette in the Basque mountains is famous for its hot red chilli peppers or pimento, le piment d’Espelette. One classic recipe from this region is Piquillos a la Basquaise. Piquillos are the whole red peppers stuffed with a mix of potato, salted cod, onion, dried pimento, garlic and herbs called a brandade. The stuffed peppers are cooked in the oven with a spicy tomato sauce.
Everything in this recipe is suitable for those on a liver cleansing diet, but can be easily modified to suit blood type A diets, vegetarians and vegans. Blood type A people should eliminate the tomatoes and instead make the piquillos with red paprikas, and substitute the potato with rice or other choice. Vegetarians and vegans just need to eliminate the fish and substitute with another vegetable such as eggplant.
While the traditional recipe uses the salted cod morue, you can use any white fish salted or unsalted. Likewise the piment of Espelette can be substituted with any dried and ground hot red chilli.
Piquillos a la Basquaise
- 4 large elongated whole pimento, paprika or other red peppers
- 400g white fish fillets
- 4 large potatoes (group A use rice)
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons hot dried chilli
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Salt if not using salted fish
- Chopped fresh herbs like parsley or chives
- Olive oil
- 400g chopped tomatoes (group A use paprikas)
Place the red peppers whole on a baking tray and roast in a hot oven at 200oC until the skin is blackened. Cool, peel and remove the tops to scoop out the seeds. Chop onion and garlic finely and sauté in a little olive oil until softened. Peel and chop the potato into cubes and simmer until softened. Poach the fish for a few minutes in a pan of water, drain. Process the potato and fish together until a crumbly texture is produced. Add the onion, garlic, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of the chilli and chopped herbs. Stuff mixture into the red peppers and place side by side in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of chilli, pour over chopped tomatoes (or roasted paprika) with juice and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Bake at 180oC for 20 minutes. Piquillos can be served alone as an entrée or with another vegetable as a main. Here I’ve included steamed courgettes with eggplant caviar as a side.
Steamed Courgette with Eggplant Caviar
- 2 large courgettes
- 1 large eggplant (group A substitute with artichoke hearts)
- Small jar of green olives
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 onion
- Olive oil
- Natural soy yogurt (optional)
- Fresh parsley or chives
Chop the courgettes into large angular 2-3cm thick chunks, steam or simmer until just softened. Dry roast the eggplant whole in a hot oven until the skin is charred, eg 30 min at 200oC. Cool, peel and chop the eggplant. Finely chop the onion and garlic and sauté in a little olive oil until softened. Add to eggplant (or artichoke hearts) and process with deseeded olives, herbs and enough olive oil to make the thick textured caviar-like sauce. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons soy yogurt for a richer consistency. Serve the eggplant caviar over the courgettes with the stuffed red peppers or other main.
This meal doesn’t feel like a diet restriction and is a favourite of mine when doing the liver cleansing diet. I love it because I can serve it to friends at a dinner party without them realising it is part of my restricted diet. The spicy French cuisine is popular and decadent even though it is low fat, dairy, egg and chemical free.