Trending: Pepper Jelly

Pepper Jelly - Naples restaurants and trends   We know USS Nemo (239-261-6366; ussnem? is one of the most dependable places for top-notch seafood, and a recent trip netted us an intro to the tongue-tingling sensation that is pepper jelly. From retro typewriter-printed menus at chic boîtes in New York City to grocery store shelves in the Midwest, spicy jams concocted with crushed chilis and tempered by a touch of sweetness are on fire. Chef Nicolas Mercier, owner of USS Nemo, added pepper-jelly crispy calamari to his repertoire a year ago, and it is a best-seller. “We pride ourselves on making things from scratch, and that includes the jelly. We mix rice vinegar, shishito and red pepper, jalapeños and sugar, and then we add a little sriracha, fresh garlic, and cook it down,” he says. Mix in the milk-tenderized, lightly fried squid with slivers of red onion, olives, seaweed and feta, and voilà, a winning dish.
   If you fancy trying your own spin, Jacquie’s Jamming (239-514-0087; jac? sells both red and green jalapeño pepper jellies online and at Ms. Jacquie’s Trade Center outpost. She, too, makes everything from scratch. For an easy and crowd-pleasing party hit, top crackers with Brie and a scoop of the bright paste; sprinkle on crushed red pepper for an extra kick. She also says the sauces are great for braising chicken and leg of lamb.
   Still craving dinner party fodder? Stonewall Kitchen (, a national brand with artisanal roots that’s sold locally at Wynn’s Market ( and Swan River Seafood (, has a popular red pepper jelly, along with newer flavors like hot pepper peach jam. Check out its website for zesty recipes that incorporate the spreadables in creative, tasty ways for hors d’oeuvres, BBQs and elaborate feasts.

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