Do you ever wonder how things get their name? I remember my mom had a kitchen garden at the back of our house, where she’d grow things that usually ended up on our plate.. Things like herbs, peppers, tomato, eggplant, ground provisions etc. One of the peppers she grew was called “bird” pepper, which is known as Thai chili or Tabasco peppers here in north America. Why “bird”? not sure, but as a kid I do remember when the trees were laden with those bright red peppers, we’d see birds coming to feed on them. You’d also find these pepper trees in the most out-of-place spots. Simply because the birds would feed, digest and then wherever their dropping fell.. there was the chance that a tree would grow there.
Here’s a salad I started making a few years back to satisfy my taste for something fresh and spicy!
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
2 medium ripe tomatoes (cut in wedges)
1/4 red onion (sliced thin)
1 leaf of shadow beni (optional) (sliced thin)
1/2 seedless (English)cucumber (about 6 inches) Sliced thin with skin on.
dash of black pepper (fresh cracked is best)
3-5 chili peppers (Thai, Tabasco or bird)
To control the heat of the pepper, you can cut them down the center, then using a spoon scrape off the seeds. I love the heat so all I do is slice the peppers, including the seeds. Wash and slice the tomatoes into wedges. If you have an English cucumber, wash and slice.. if you have a common cucumber all you have to do is cut it down the center and using a spoon, scrape the seeds out. Slice the red onion into very thin slices.
In a bowl, combine the pepper, vegetables, olive oil, black pepper. I don’t add salt to my version of this salad, but that’s because I don’t eat a lot of salt and your taste may be different. Add accordingly. If you do have shadow beni or cilantro you can add it at this point as well. I also have to say that I’ve seen people add red wine or balsamic vinegar, but like salt I don’t care for vinegar.
Do show some respect for the bird peppers, as they will have a bite to them!