Cayenne pepper - one of the hottest spices in the world. It is a particularly spicy reddish pepper. Its name comes from the Cayenne river, where these chili peppers grow.
In its pure form, the spice is essentially a type of "paprika". But when we say "cayenne pepper", we're usually referring to a mixture of this paprika with spices such as cumin, thyme, garlic, aromatic pepper and even dried onion powder.
The birthplace of cayenne pepper is the tropical regions of America.
The largest producers of the spice today are Mexico, Brazil, West Africa, China, India. Among the 1st Europeans to get their hands on this culture was Columbus, who mistook it for black pepper.
The spicy taste of cayenne pepper is due to the contained therein capsaicin and vitamin A. It finds a wide application in cooking. Once added, it provides a specific taste and sharp tanginess to the dish. It can be used dried and ground.
This hot pepper goes in the composition of some exotic spices, such as curry, molten salt, powdered chili, berbere and mole negro. It's also used in the preparation of the legendary Tabasco sauce.
By and large, cayenne pepper is used in the dishes of southern peoples. It's used to prepare various meat sauces, to flavor foods such as roasted meat on skewers, vegetable dishes, pork and beef.
Meat, fish, as well as lentil and pea dishes obtain an irresistible aroma and taste with a little cayenne pepper added. Canned tomatoes and canned marinated fish simply can't go without this spice.
The spice allows for combination with other spices, such as turmeric, savory, celery, black and mixed pepper, coriander, cumin, ginger and dried tomatoes.
Interestingly, this hot spice is usable in the confectionery industry as well. It's used to season certain cakes, chocolates and others.
The characteristic taste of cayenne pepper allows its use in preparation of some of the most popular drinks - bloody Mary and mulled wine.