The Uncommon Canned Peppers Bobby Flay Always Has On Hand

Few cooks are as savvy in the kitchen as Bobby Flay, the American professional chef and TV personality. Whether you follow his pro tip for making fresh pasta in no time or disagree with him on chili being the worst Super Bowl food, you can't deny that he has immense influence in the culinary world. In 2022, Flay collaborated with Misfits Market to showcase his extensive pantry. His fans ate up the digital tour, and it's hard to miss that Flay has plenty of piquillo peppers, an uncommon canned chili outside of Spain, stocked in his pantry.

Named after the Spanish word for "little beak," piquillo peppers are small, pyramid-shaped red chilis. They are commonly grown and used in the northern Spanish regions of La Rioja and Navarre. Lodosa, a town within Navarre, takes special pride in these peppers, with residents commonly referring to them as "red gold." In Spain, they are commonly eaten with salted cod, stuffies with anchovies, or reduced into a jam for toast.

Piquillo peppers are shockingly mild

Most people think of spicy sensations when they encounter chilis in their food. While certain peppers do pack a lot of heat, many variants actually score low on the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale, a system that ranks food based on its fiery kick. Bell peppers, which have no kick, clock in at 0 SHU since they virtually have no capsaicin, the chemical that creates a spicy feeling as we eat. The infamous Carolina Reaper, on the other hand, ranks between 1,400,000 and 2,200,000 SHU – and has even sent a few people to the hospital due to how painful its heat is.

Piquillo peppers rank shockingly low on the Scoville scale, ranking in at around 500 to 1,000 SHU. This puts them slightly above the heat of banana, pepperoncini, and pimento peppers, and right below the popular Poblano, which sits at about 1,000 to 2,000 SHU. The kick in piquillos is further masked by their sweetness, which closely resembles the taste of ripe red bell peppers. This flavor profile makes them perfect for almost any type of dish, such as roasts, stews, and even soups. Think of them as a substitute for bell peppers but with a hint of smokiness.

Other chilies found in Bobby Flay's pantry

Piquillo peppers aren't the only peppers found in Bobby Flay's pantry. In his pantry tour with Misfits Market, Flay also showcased a jar of Calabrian peppers, which he says he and his restaurants use incredibly often. These chilies are native to Italy and are best known for their unique flavor profile, which is a bit sweeter than most peppers and more closely resembles the taste of fruit with a touch of smokiness. They are also much spicier than piquillos, going at 25,000 to 40,000 SHU.

Flay's pantry doesn't shy away from heat as he also frequently stocks guajillo and chipotle peppers. Both of these dried chilis are native to Mexico and are frequently used in both Latin American and Tex-Mex cuisine. Neither of these peppers is as hot as Calabrian chilies since neither of them goes above 10,000 SHU, but they are certainly spicier than piquillos. He also stocks a tub of Korean gochujang, a fermented paste made from ground red chili flakes, as well as a jar of chili oil. Suffice it to say, Flay takes his peppers seriously, and they cover just about every cuisine on the planet.