The Red Hot Chile Cookbook

Dan May. Ryland Peters & Small, $24.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-84975-222-0
May, a photographer turned chile expert, has his own line of hot sauces and the distinction of owning the world’s most northerly chile farm, in Northumberland, England. In this, his first book, May presents brief primers on how to grow peppers no matter the climate; on their history and folklore; and on the chemical reaction that give peppers their kick. He then offers up recipes for soups, salads, entrees, sides, sauces, and desserts, ranging from the mildly eye watering to the steam-out-of-your-ears level of heat. His Texas-style chili calls for chipotle sauce, cayenne, jalapenos, bell peppers, and a chile powder made from ancho and hot red de arbol chiles. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a cream of mussel soup has one finely chopped hot chile blended into a mix of fish stock and white wine. Many of the recipes employ a blast of citrus to complement their spiciness. There is a mango and chile-marinated chicken, for example, as well as jerk chicken with lime and pineapple. With its U.K. pedigree, the book has a few decidedly British touches. There’s deviled bubble-and-squeak, with cabbage, root vegetables and a good splash of chile sauce, as well as a Boxing Day treat—chile-marinated salmon gravadlax. The enticing dessert chapter though, seems more a Central American affair, with options like chile pecan brownies, chile jam ice cream and, of course, chile hot chocolate. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2012
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