Red pepper: no need to blush!
To begin with, the red pepper (aka the bell pepper) has no reason to blush because it’s classified as a fruit simply because it is one! This great mild food does not pale either in comparison to its stronger cousins, chili peppers and paprika, because they belong to the same family, Capsicum. And, as for the other pepper or peppercorn (the one we grind), the similar name is due to linguistic laziness because it was used like chili pepper, rather than any botanical link. Mild red peppers are generally bigger than chili peppers, even if one or two varieties are smaller. The Catalans, who grow both mild and hot peppers, assert in their folklore that the devil wanted to surpass God by creating his own pepper, but only managed to produce a wrinkled runt who compensated for his inferior size by being as infernal as his creator and as hot as hell. These debates notwithstanding, the mild red pepper is above all used as a much-loved vegetable in savory dishes all over the world. Increasingly, however, it is appreciated as a complementary ingredient in pastries, since it brings a balance to many different fruits, contributing its slightly bittersweet taste, its fragrance, its bright color and its texture. It’s also very popular these days with mixologists as an ideal partner for all sorts of fruit, from pomelos to tomatoes, via mandarins, mixed with vodka, gin or tequila. In fact, in some cocktails, the red pepper often gets together with his spicier cousin for the pleasure of our taste buds. Caliente!