Fresh and dried peppers are essential ingredients the world over. Yet while growing up in the Midwest, I could remember only eating sweet bell peppers. This meant that I had a lot to learn about one of the most popular, unique and diverse foods on our planet. As luck would have it, I was invited to a special cookbook event at Melissa’s Produce to launch their latest cookbook “The Great Pepper Cookbook”. This was the perfect opportunity for me to begin exploring all these exciting flavors and have some fun!
Melissa’s Produce is the largest global distributor of fresh and dried peppers. As an ice breaker and a lovely way to “warm-up,” we were allowed and heartily encouraged to play with our food. Valentina from Cooking for the Weekends and I did!
Once we stopped giggling at our selfies, we were ready to investigate our mysterious multicolored friends. The flavors ranged from fruity to smokey, mildly tangy to blow your lips off hot!
Melissa’s chefs surprised and delighted us with a wonderful selection of dishes that incorporated dried and fresh peppers.
The most unexpected and impressive was the “Red Hot Lemonade.” It was surprisingly refreshing with a spicy kick, but not hot.
The full recipe is on Page 38 of “The Great Pepper Cookbook”
Reading The Book
This colorful cookbook offers 150 easy-to-follow recipes that feature the unique range of flavors that peppers offer. Included with each recipe is a useful tip or an optional variation.
The book begins by presenting 38 varieties of peppers. Among many other things, it covers the heat index, taste characteristics and expert instructions on how to work with dried and fresh peppers.
The Scoville scale was created to rate the hotness of chilies: Mild bell peppers rate a zero all the way up to the Scorpion at over million heat units. This is a very handy chart for knowing what you are in for if you pop one in your mouth.
From mild to wild… “The Great Pepper Cookbook” has it all! You can order it from Melissa’s Produce at 800-588.0151 or www.melissas.com.
The Recipe: Egg Salad with Pepper Relish
I chose to combine two recipes from this cookbook. At the luncheon, we were served the egg salad with pepper relish on a Hawaiian bread roll. It was truly wonderful, but I wanted to make a fancier bread so I chose the cream puff recipe (page 227) for the sandwich. It makes a wonderful buffet appetizer that doesn’t get soggy.
Egg Salad with Pepper Relish
- 2 fresh shishito chile peppers stems and seeds removed, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons finely diced dill pickles
- 1 tablespoon finely diced green onion white part only
- 1 tablespoon finely diced celery
- White pepper
- 6 large eggs hardboiled and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise I used greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon wasabi powder optional
- 4 Hawaiian bread mini-sub rolls cut in half (I used 6 mini cream puffs)
To make relish, in a bowl, combine chile, pickle, green onion, and celery; stir in salt and white pepper to taste.
To make egg salad, in a bowl, combine eggs, mayonnaise, and wasabi powder; stir in salt to taste.
Spoon egg salad evenly onto roll bottoms; top evenly with relish. Top with roll tops. Serve.
Prep Time: 25 mins | Total Time: 30 mins | Serves 4
If you can't find Shishito chile peppers, substitute with Anaheim peppers.
Nancy Eisman, who is a Special Projects/Recipe Liaison for the cookbook, created today’s delicious recipe. She is a fellow blogger and vegetarian.
On a funnier note…
One year I grew mini bell peppers. I was delighted that my plant was bursting with little orange peppers and I took great delight in popping the first harvest in my mouth the minute I thought it was ripe. Well, wasn’t the neighbors shocked when they heard me screaming. I later discovered it was actually a scorching hot habanero. Lesson learned; never wipe your tears after eating a hot pepper, as it will really give you something to cry about… for hours.
My culinary exploration continues as I cook from this truly “hot” new book. Spice it up!
…and then, she paused for thought.
This is not a sponsored post. I received a free copy of the cookbook for review. All opinions are my own.