Superfoods 2018: Cayenne Pepper

Are you a salt and pepper cook? I heard this expression watching Anne Burrell on the Food Network. She got me thinking. Have I been limiting my culinary experiences to the addition of salt and pepper only? I had other spices but really wasn’t using them to bring out the hidden flavors of many recipe ingredients.

Cayenne pepper is a spice with quite the kick in flavor and in the health department. The compound, capsaicin, found in cayenne has been linked to lowering blood pressure and providing relief from arthritis. Research has found that it may help with weight loss. It can be added to warm water with lemon, ginger and honey as an amazing winter immunity elixir. And you can always sprinkle it over winter veggies (rutabaga, squashes, turnips, parsnips), eggs, chicken or fish for some improved and major flavor.

Here are some ways to get cayenne into your life! Try these recipes.

Recipe #1: Fettuccine with Red Peppers and Cayenne Sauce

Fettuccine
Fettuccine with Red Peppers and Cayenne Sauce

12 ounces dry fettuccine pasta (whole grain preferably)

2 red bell peppers, julienned

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (you may want to start with less if you are not a spicy eater)

1 cup reduced fat sour cream

3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Kosher salt to taste (optional)

Black pepper, freshly ground to taste (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, spray cooking oil in a large skillet and saute peppers, garlic and cayenne pepper over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream and stock. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese. Toss pasta with sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Recipe #2: Cod Fish Tacos with Cayenne

Fish Tacos
Cod Fish Tacos with Cayenne
12 ounces Cod fish
2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy or tamari
1 teaspoon molasses
1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
7 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1 Lime
8 whole wheat tortillas
8 ounces reduced fat Mexican Cheese, shredded
1⁄4 red cabbage, shredded
Combine sauce ingredients in a pan over medium-high heat (sesame oil through cayenne). Add thawed fish. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, until fish is cooked through — and is white not translucent. Chop the cooked fish in the pan so that it’s diced and more thoroughly covered with sauce. In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt and the juice of half a lime. Serve fish with tortillas, cabbage, cheese, and yogurt sauce.