The Cutting Technique To Extract Full Flavor From Peppers Minus The Heat

habanero peppers in a bowl
habanero peppers in a bowl - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Peppers are a quick and versatile way to add a punch of flavor to any dish. They can be the star of the show, as with jalapeño poppers, or elevate other ingredients, like in chocolate beef chili. One challenge many people face, however, is figuring out how to prepare hot peppers in a way that allows them to get the most out of the ingredient while also controlling its spice level. If you can relate, we have the solution for you: filleting.

With the exception of bell peppers, all peppers contain a compound called capsaicin. This is what causes your mouth — or even your skin, if you're not careful — to burn when coming into contact with hot peppers. Just as varieties of peppers contain different amounts of capsaicin, so do different parts of individual peppers. The majority of any pepper's capsaicin quantity is contained within its seeds and pith, which is the white membrane found inside the pepper. Filleting a pepper is the best way to easily separate the seeds and pith from the flesh. Doing this allows you to get the most pepper flavor possible with the least amount of heat.

Read more: 10 Produce Storage Mistakes To Avoid

How To Fillet A Pepper

man slicing peppers
man slicing peppers - Photo_concepts/Getty Images

To fillet a pepper, place the pepper upright on your cutting board. We recommend slicing off a thin section of the bottom of your pepper to create a flat base and prevent wobbling. While holding onto the pepper by its stem, make vertical cuts downward across the length of each lobe, keeping the knife as close to the stem as possible without slicing directly into it. Once you've cut off each lobe, you should be left holding a pepper core full of pith and seeds, successfully separating the most spicy components of the pepper from the desired flesh. At this point, you can continue to chop the removed lobes however is best for your particular recipe.

This technique works best for peppers with distinct lobes. When seeding a single lobe pepper, the easiest way to remove the pith and seeds is to simply cut the pepper in half and scrape out the spicy parts with a spoon. Regardless of which technique you use, always remember to either thoroughly wash your hands or wear gloves when handling hot peppers. The capsaicin can transfer to your skin and stick around for a while, and other parts of your body will begin to burn as well if touched.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.