Monday, November 29, 2010
Scotch bonnet peppers
Check it, friends. These are some of the hottest peppers you can buy. Aren't they cute? But, yeah, hot. The Thai chilis not so much, but the other two...hoo! I've already featured dried habaneros, so today I tried a Scotch bonnet--the little red fella at the top, to be exact, which is about one inch square. Here was what it looked like cut in half--somewhat evil, I admit:
I was so careful not to touch it with naked hands, and cut it up with a knife and fork. I did give a little lick to the knife when I was done, and this stuff is powerful. To showcase it, I made a variation on the Tomatican from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook [On edit, the recipe is here; I halved it], which I don't use often enough as the recipes seem so simple to look at, but actually are really good despite their simplicity. It's a Peruvian-style stew, flavoured only (in this case) with a little cumin, this one Scotch bonnet pepper, and some salt (the original recipe called for 1/8 tsp cayenne, hey!). Here you see the proportion of pepper to onions in the stew:
The pepper gave kind of a hot halo to everything it came in contact with: my lips, my hands (even though I didn't touch it), just from contact with the air. Was it super-duper hot in the final stew? Yes, and no. It was a little scary in that such a little made such heat without adding any perceptible actual taste. I feel bathed in capsaicin without actually being in pain, and also feel like I could have added two to the stew with few to no ill effects, though it's kind of frightening that my hands are burning without any actual contact with pepper/stew/dishwater in which pepper-infused things have been placed. As I am one of those people who credit hot peppers with good health, next time I will be more daring! Here's what I actually ate:
The stew, over Aztec blend (rice/split peas/other stuff from Bulk Barn), and topped with avocados and cilantro and grated cashew cheese. And yes, that is some of the banana squash from yesterday you see in the stew! Mmmm, so hot, so good!