Whether you're a hot-headed chile fiend or a sedate sweet-pepper aficionado, there's no better time to enjoy members of the capsicum family. From benign bells to piquant piquillos, there's a fresh pepper for every taste.
Just like their nightshade cousins -- tomatoes and eggplant -- peppers pop into season in the warmer months. And although we tend to think of peppers in terms of simply red or green, this family of savory fruits can be found in a rainbow of colors from creamy white to chocolate brown and vibrant purple. (I've never seen a blue one, but I wouldn't bet against 'em.)
Aside from their proud place in Mexican specialties like chiles rellenos and all manner of salsas, you can find peppers in European delights like ratatouille and piperade, modern classics like roasted red-pepper soup, and down-home fare like stuffed peppers.
If you're a fan of the picante,
keep an eye out for pimientos de padron... sometimes jokingly called
"Russian roulette" peppers: Most are fairly mild, but every few chiles
you encounter one that's surprisingly fierce. Sauteed in a little olive oil and dusted with
sea salt, these bite-sized bullets make a classic tapas treat.
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