The Fish pepper has a storied past as it was a culinary staple for oyster and crab houses during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Baltimore and the mid-Atlantic states. It was blended into cream sauces for crab and fish dishes, which is how it got its name. In addition to its delicious flavor, the Fish pepper has a very unique ripening pattern with variegated pods and leaves. It is one of the rare peppers is considered both a cooking pepper and an ornamental pepper plant. The leaves of a single plant can vary in appearance as some can be full green, full white, or have both green and white speckles and stripes. When the Fish pepper is young, it is a solid creamy green color, and milder in flavor. As it matures, the Fish pepper often develops stripes and eventually turns a solid red color when it is completely ripe.
The Fish pepper is supposedly a hybrid of the Serrano and the Cayenne pepper, averaging about 5,000 to 30,000 Scoville Heat Units. The flavor is described as fresh and bright, while the medium heat level makes the Fish pepper versatile. In addition to enhancing the flavor of seafood, the Fish pepper is also a terrific pepper for medium-heat salsas and hot sauces.