The Pepper Upper

The Pepper Upper

Whether it be good old green, colorful sweet baby bells, Anaheim, Jalapeno or even the exciting Hatch, pepper season is upon us. Like its cousin the tomato, we wait all summer for these bulbous, short, long, tapered and contorted characters to peak. Now it’s time to take your pick. These babies come in all sorts of colors: white, green, yellow, orange, red and even purple. You could almost make a rainbow out of them. Some are “dulce” sweet with no heat at all; others “picante” and so blazing hot they give me hiccups. Raw or cooked, no matter your preference, peppers bring us bright flavors, and delicious nutritious-ness.

Maybe we should call them “Doctor Peppers” because their list of healing benefits is so darn long. Ironically, even though they can be spicy hot, all peppers have the great gift of reducing “in-flame-ation”. I know I’m a broken record about inflammation and oxidative stress, but the truth is it’s at the heart and soul of so many things that need a cure. Whether it is heart disease, Alzheimer’s or arthritis, all are triggered by inflammation. If we remember that food can be like medicine we can actually eat our way to better wellbeing.

The color variety of peppers comes from the beta carotenes, vitamin A and lutein they contain. They don’t even have to be hot to help. And here’s a tip… you’ll find these flavonoids concentrated in the white pithy part in the center, so be sure and eat that too. Plus, they have the bonus of being high in fiber, iron and vitamin C.

Some peppers, like the Hatch, have become quite renowned. Almost like champagne with its own region, and their own terroir flavors like wine and a celebrated harvest. it’s always exciting when “the Hatch season” arrives.

I love grilling peppers and often you will find them on my dinner plate, whether they are sweet and grilled or hot and stuffed, they are an ingredient that warms my soul. In fact, my Dad’s favorite dinner was just a simple ribeye steak and an Anaheim pepper grilled alongside, simply fabulous.

The pepper family, “capsicum annuum”, was first noted around the year 3000 BC, as a staple in Central America, Mexico and South America, sustaining the brilliant Mayans and Aztecs. Salty’s, creatively continues this great tradition and adds peppers to so many of our dishes. They can be found pickled in our delicious calamari-always, but also this month you will find them carefully blended into the nduja vinaigrette flavoring our fabulous salmon and halibut brochette . Plus, if you click here Chef Jeremy is patiently waiting to teach you how to pickle your own peck of peppers.

You want to get pepped up? Put some peppers on you plate!