The piquillo pepper is a type of chili pepper that is cultivated in Spain. It is mainly used for preparing Spanish dishes, like tapas, in which this pepper is stuffed with cheese, seafood, cooked rice, or meat. Piquillos are also used in soups, stews, sandwiches, and salads.
Some Interesting Facts
- The piquillo pepper got its name from its conical shape that resembles a bird's beak. In Spanish, the name of this pepper means 'little beak'.
- When ripe, these peppers are vibrant red in color. However, they are harvested during different stages of ripeness. So they are available in green, green and red, and vibrant red color. The most commonly used type is the red-colored piquillos.
- Unlike other chili peppers, piquillo peppers have a sweet and smoky flavor, that is partly due to the method of processing. These peppers are hand picked between September and October, and are roasted over open fire. Once roasted, they are peeled and seeded, before packaging. The seeds from the best crop are stored for the following year.
- No chemicals are used while processing these peppers. They are not even rinsed before peeling and seeding, so as to retain the authentic taste.
- The green piquillo peppers are harvested before they become fully ripe. Such piquillos possess a sharp and less sweet flavor.
- Apart from the distinct flavor, piquillo peppers are highly nutritious too. They are rich in dietary fiber, and vitamins A, B, C and E. Studies show that the vitamin C content in piquillo peppers is almost similar to that of citrus fruits, and their beta carotene content is comparable to that of carrots.
As piquillo peppers are used in various food recipes, especially in Spanish cuisine, you may need these peppers while preparing such foods. You may find piquillo peppers in some supermarkets. Otherwise, buy them from the nearest Spanish store. If you fail to obtain this pepper, replace it with roasted red pepper, particularly the jarred version. You may also use pimento as a piquillo pepper substitute. If you want to prepare roasted piquillo peppers, you may use Holland red peppers as a substitute. Piquillo peppers can be used to prepare various recipes like, the 'tapas', that are piquillos stuffed with a wide range of ingredients like crab, chickpeas, cheese, rice, etc. Piquillo pepper sauce can be used with lamb, fish, or bread. Piquillos can also be used in pizza, tartines, soups, rice, paella, etc. Heat piquillos and serve with a small amount of olive oil. These peppers are also used with fried eggs.
So, get a jar of authentic piquillo peppers that are now available in supermarkets and gourmet shops. You can even try online shopping for these peppers.