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07.07.2021

Spice Spotlight: Aleppo Pepper

Spice Spotlight: Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo peppers are a shining ruby in our chile collection. Savory, salty, and fruity flavors make these pepper flakes an indispensable condiment for Middle Eastern classics like hummus, grilled kebabs, and fattoush salad. In recent decades, Aleppo pepper’s popularity has spread like wildfire outside its traditional cuisines—finding itself strewn atop avocado toast, slices of pizza, and any recipe calling for classic crushed red pepper.

What is Aleppo Pepper?

Aleppo pepper is a cultivar of Capsicum annum. It is named after its home city, Aleppo, Syria, but also goes by Halaby pepper, Pul Biber, and Turkish pepper. Unfortunately, the Syrian civil war has driven local pepper farmers and their heirloom seeds to neighboring farmlands of southern Turkey.

Aleppo pepper flakes in a small dish

Aleppo chile peppers are commonly used in their dried form. They ripen on the plant to a cherry red hue before they are deseeded and partially dried in the sun. Once most of the moisture has left the chile, they are coarsely ground, salted, and oiled as a second curing process. This traditional curing method gives Aleppo pepper flakes their characteristically savory flavors.

Quality Aleppo pepper flakes should be coarsely ground and taste savory, salty, and mildly sweet. They often carry notes of raisin, dried plum, cumin seed, and sun-dried tomato. They also have a mild-to-medium heat level, clocking in at 2,500-7,500 Scoville heat units.

BUY ALEPPO PEPPER

How to Cook With Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo pepper flakes are almost good enough to eat on their own—making it no surprise how popular they are as a condiment in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Central Asian cuisines.

Keep a dish of Aleppo pepper for garnish the next time you create a meze of hummus, baba ghanoush, pickles, olives, and pita bread. (A sprinkle of pepper flakes also elevates any plate of store-bought hummus and guests will think you’re a genius.)

Aleppo pepper is an elevated substitute for crushed red chile peppers, especially when used in pasta sauce recipes. Next time you make tomato sauce, saute some Aleppo peppers in olive oil along with minced onion and garlic. The flavor foundation is outstanding and the spice pairs perfectly with tomatoes.

Marinades are exceptional with Aleppo pepper, especially for chicken. Try whisking together equal parts olive oil and lemon juice before stirring in a clove of freshly minced garlic and a heavy pinch of Aleppo pepper. Let the chicken marinade for an hour before hitting the grill.

The savory-fruity flavor of Aleppo pepper goes surprisingly well with chocolate. Add just a few flakes to your brownie or cake batter recipes for some added sophistication.

Spices and herbs we like to pair with Aleppo pepper are; allspice, bay leaf, caraway seed, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin seed, dill weed, garlic powder, marjoram, mint, onion powder, oregano, paprika, parsley, thyme, sesame seed, and sumac.

Featured Recipes for Aleppo Pepper

Black & Red Avocado Toast

 

Chili Chocolate Bark

Chocolate dessert made with hot peppers, spicy!

 

Baba Ghanoush

baba ghanoush in a bowl with pita bread chips

BABA GHANOUSH RECIPE

Sumac Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower florets roasted with sumac spice and aleppo pepper

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER RECIPE

Black Garlic Chicken

baked or grilled chicken made with garlic and spices

BLACK GARLIC CHICKEN RECIPE

 

 

Article by Geoff Marshall, Staff Writer

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