These small, colorful, extremely hot peppers are one of my favorite finds from my recent trip to Martinique. I was initially drawn to them by their bright colors and unique look, as they are even multi-colored at times. However, I decided to experiment with them at breakfast one morning, and I was not disappointed! I got in a habit of making breakfast while we were on vacation. Martinique is a department of France, so you'll find all of the typical French fare at extremely low prices, such as Emmentaler cheese and lardons. I was used to making a breakfast scramble of eggs, cheese and lardons, until I got the bright idea to heat things up and add some of these ultra-fiery peppers to the mix. And wow--the flavor was so bold and unique! I knew this was a dish that I would make over and over again.
I have since learned that scotch bonnets are practically staples of not just Caribbean cuisine, but African cuisine as well. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered these peppers at my neighborhood market; although, they don't taste exactly as they did in Martinique (which is to be expected--just how most tropical produce doesn't taste quite-ripe in New York).
These peppers can be used in more than scrambled eggs. While eating grilled seafood beachside, I became quite fond of sauce chien, a hallmark of Antilles cuisine that ended up on pretty much all of my plates of seafood. Sauce chien translates to "dog sauce," and if anyone knows why it's called that, please let me know! It's a salsa-like concoction of scotch bonnets, onion, green onion and garlic blanched in boiling water, then mixed with olive oil and lime juice. It's really a superb accompaniment to pretty much any seafood dish.
I decided to bring the flavors of Martinique to my studio kitchenette by cooking with Scotch Bonnets. In addition to making a breakfast scramble with scotch bonnets, I decided to grill some fish and make sauce chien, as well as plantains sauteed in coconut oil and sliced avocado. Everything I made was super easy and can be quickly prepared. Just be warned that Scotch Bonnets are super hot. So hot that I always remove all of the seeds before I use them. (Much of the heat in peppers is contained in the seeds.) But, they aren't too hot, as they are still quite enjoyable!
Martinique Breakfast Scramble
5-6 eggs 1/2 scotch bonnet pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped 1/4 cup Emmentaler Cheese (optional) 2 ounces lardons (optional)
- Sautee the lardons in a large skillet until crisp. Remove all but 1 teaspoon of the rendered fat. Add the finely-chopped peppers and sautee 1-2 minutes.
- Add the eggs and cook, stirring frequently, until eggs are just set.
- Stir in the cheese and Serve immediately.
- 3 green onions, ends removed, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped
- 1 lime
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Place 2 cups of water into a small pot with one teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the finely chopped green onions, onion, garlic, and scotch bonnet pepper.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain immediately.
- Place the onions and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Add one tablespoon of olive oil (or more depending on your preference), and the juice from one lime. Adjust seasoning by adding additional salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve as an accompaniment for any seafood, especially grilled fish or shrimp.