Chile Pepper Parade
There's a changing of the guard at Season's gate later this week, with autumn officially kicking off the evening of Friday, Sept. 23.
Like it or not, it's the home stretch of summer, the last opportunity to savor warm-weather crops that soon will be a winterized memory. Get'em while they last -- tomatoes, eggplant, corn, melon, peaches and peppers. Throughout this week, I'll pay tribute to a few summer produce hangers-on; today is all about chile peppers. Below, a chile sampler found at a few area farm markets over the weekend:
This mild yellow-green pepper looks like an elongated bell pepper. Can be roasted, grilled and fried. Try it on top of pizza, in sandwiches or in salads, raw or cooked. A good bet for chile first-timers.
If you've had chiles rellenos, you've eaten a poblano pepper. These shiny hunter green babies can morph into shades of purple-brown. Stuff with cheese, rice, herbed breadcrumbs, veggies.
Medium to low heat.
Available in shades of green and red. Medium heat. Kitchen versatile; can be eaten raw (as part of pico de gallo) or cooked - be it grilled, roasted, fried and stuffed. Flavor can be somewhat vegetal. Smoked, it becomes a chipotle.
These pencil-thin chiles are known more for their use dried and ground. Fresh, they are versatile, easily diced and thrown into
Soups, curries, stews and sauces. Flavor feels like direct heat; these are hotter than jalapenos.
These heart-shaped heart throbs of extreme chile lovers, come in shades of green, red and yellow/orange. Can easily be mistaken for Scotch bonnets, another hot number. Fruit flavor. A little goes a long way in the heat department. This is my chile of choice when making curries. Proceed with caution; seeds and fumes are highly irritable to skin.
But now I need your help. I'm having trouble identifying the two red peppers, pictured at right. Can you lend a peppery hand? And while you're at it, share your favorite ways to use chiles in the comments area below.
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