Week 13: Spice Spice Baby
With this abnormally cool weather, fall is in the air. But we know summer is not done with us yet! We are very grateful for the long soaking rain on Saturday which we haven't had in quite a while too. The farm continues to have a lot of peppers showcasing a rainbow of bold colors and flavors. We hope you enjoy this weeks post, Spice Spice Baby.
Peppers are defined as either sweet or hot, but there is no true definition for either. All peppers are rated on the Scoville Scale which measures a peppers hotness in multiples of 100 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). It ranges from 0 for Bell Peppers to over 1,000,000 for Ghost Peppers. Typically, sweet/mild peppers range from 0 to 5,000 SHU but let your tongue be the judge!
The typical heat ranges for some of the peppers you'll find at Moutoux are:
Bell = 0 SHU
Shishito = 50 - 200 SHU
Banana = 0 - 500 SHU
Poblano = 1,000 - 1,500 SHU
Jalapeno = 2,500 - 5,000 SHU
Fish = 5,000 - 30,000 SHU
Cayenne = 30,000 - 50,000 SHU
Thai = 50,000 - 100,000 SHU
Sugar Rush = 80,000 - 150,000 SHU
Scotch Bonnet = 80,000 - 400,000 SHU
While sweet peppers can be the featured ingredient of a dish, hot peppers play an important role in adding their unique brand of fire to dishes.
SICILIAN PEPPER SALAD
3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium red bell peppers, sliced 3/4" thick
5 Cubanelles or Banana peppers, sliced 3/4" thick
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1 TBSP dry white wine or water
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 TBSP sugar
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup currants
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and cook; stirring often for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and wine (or water); stirring until almost tender 3-5 minutes more,
Add vinegar, sugar, and salt; cook, storring for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, stir in currants and pine nuts, and sprinkle with parsley just before serving.
Notes: Serves 8.
HOMEMADE HOT SAUCE
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 medium chile peppers such as poblano, New Mexico, or Anaheim, diced
2-4 habanero peppers or other small hit chile peppers, stemmed, halved and seeded*
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound tomatoes, dicved (~3 cups)
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tsp salt
1-3 tsp sugar
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, chile peppers, habaneros to taste, and garlic and cook, storing, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes
Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and sugar to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 5 minutes.
Carefully transfer the tomato mixture to a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot ingredients.) Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; pour the puree mixture through the sieve, pushing on the solids with a wooden spoon to extract all the liquid. (Discard solids.) Let the sauce cool to room temperature, about 1.5 hours.
Notes: Makes ~2 2/3 cups. Recipe courtesy of Eating Well Vegetables. *Take precaution when working with hot peppers as the oils can be transferred to your skin. Avoid rubbing your eyes and wash your hands well when you're done. Recommend wearing latex or rubber gloves when working with hot peppers.
1.5 cups of whole hot peppers or 0.5 cups hot pepper puree
1.5 cups of non-ionized salt (maldon salt is exquisite but any sea salt will do)
Rinse peppers and remove stems (seeds are fine)
Place peppers in blender and blend fine
In a clean jar, mix peppers and salt. Shake.
Over the next few days, shake once per day (it’s ok if you forget). This helps distribute the salt.
Note: You will likely find that a liquid forms in the salt (it’s extremely hot and a fantastic way to add heat to your dishes). It will be preserved by the salt. You can continue to add salt if you wish until the liquid eventually is absorbed into the salt but that’s optional.
ROASTED PEPPER SOUP