The Great Pepper Cookbook by Melissa's Produce

The Great Pepper Cookbook by Melissa's Produce

Emma Christensen
May 27, 2014
(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

The angle: Work your way up the Scoville Scale, from Bell Peppers to Scorpion Peppers, one delicious recipe at a time.

Recipes for right now: Mango and Chile-Glazed Party Wings, Chile-Berry Agua Fresca, Peach-Padron Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Broccoli-Flower Chile Mac, Chile-Basil Pesto, Spicy Pork Stir Fry, Chipotle-Chocolate Cake

Who would enjoy this book? Spice heads, anyone who's walked by a farmers market table piled with peppers and wondered how to use them

Quick Facts

Who wrote it: Melissa's Produce

Who published it: Oxmoor House

Other highlights: Your world of peppery produce is about to get a whole lot bigger, my friend! This book starts with a comprehensive look at the pepper family: where each one falls on the Scoville heat scale, their growing seasons and particular personalities, how to roast them when they fresh and how to use them when they're dried. The folks at Melissa's Produce know their peppers, to be sure. This is the section I want to photocopy so I can have it in my back pocket when I go to the farmers market this summer.

From there, we head into the recipes. Whether the recipe title mentions it or not, there are peppers in every single dish (yes, including dessert!). Even just a quick flip through here is enough to grow my appreciation for what a pepper can do. It can be the star player, like in a batch of jalapeno poppers or a hoagie stuffed with grilled sausages and peppers. Or the pepper can take add a more subtle, back-seat heat, like in a delightfully warming butternut squash soup or a slice of smoky chipotle-chocolate cake. I like that each recipe has a graphic telling you which chile (or chiles) you'll need and the spice level in the finished dish.

If you expect a bumper crop of chiles from your garden or CSA this year, if you're envious of the multi-colored piles of chiles on farmers market tables, if you harbor a deep and ever-lasting love for this family of spicy vegetables, if your summer goal is to level-up your spice tolerance — if any of the above, The Great Pepper Cookbook will be a great companion in the kitchen.

Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Great Pepper Cookbook by Melissa's

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