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Aleppo Pepper

I recently had the pleasure of helping Old Town Spice shop celebrate their 2 year anniversary with a cooking demo, using some of their spices in several dishes for customers to taste.  One of the spices Sean asked me to use was Aleppo pepper, a robustly flavored pepper grown in Syria and Turkey.  Aleppo peppers are deep burgundy in color when ripe, are partially dried, seeded, then coarsely ground.  Not as hot and more flavorful than dried red pepper flakes, and much more flavorful than paprika, Aleppo pepper is very versatile.  Similar to Ancho chile, with mild heat and deep, rich almost raisin-like flavor, it can be used in dry rubs for grilled or seared meats, as a sprinkle over baked potatoes, deviled eggs, baked winter squash, robust salads, in rice pilaf or on pizza.  Aleppo pepper has a round rather than sharp flavor.   

I used it as a rub for pork tenderloin: ¼ cup Aleppo pepper to ½ tsp. cocoa powder, 1 tsp. sea salt, ½ tsp. granulated garlic powder, and ½ tsp. ground cumin, ½ tsp. hot smoked paprika.  I tossed the pork cubes with the rub, and let it stand overnight in the refrigerator.  I cooked it quickly in hot grapeseed oil at the demo, and finished it with a splash of apple cider. 

Try it in a dipping oil, warmed slightly with olive oil, finely minced garlic, a pinch of sea salt, and a touch of balsamic vinegar. 

Cornbread with Aleppo Pepper

1 cup flour

1 cup cornmeal

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. Aleppo pepper

¾ tsp. salt

1 beaten egg

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup buttermilk

2 tbsp. olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400°.  Lightly grease a loaf pan with butter, and don’t flour the sides.  While the oven preheats, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, whisking to blend thoroughly.   In another bowl, whisk the egg, sour cream, buttermilk, and oil until combined.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring just until combined.  Don’t over mix.  Bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool 10 minutes before turning onto a cutting board.  Let cool before slicing, and serve with honey butter.  Leftovers can be cubed and tossed into a hearty salad with garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, greens like arugula and romaine, thinly sliced red onion.  Add chopped nitrate-free salami and shaved Parmesan or Romano cheese for a light lunch. 

Zucchini Cakes

3 zucchini, washed and shredded

½ tsp. salt

1 cup frozen baby peas

½ cup chopped green onion

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tbsp. Aleppo pepper

½ – ¾ cup leftover cooked rice

1 beaten egg 

Toss the shredded zucchini with salt, and let stand in a colander for 10 minutes.  Rinse and drain again, squeezing in a clean dish towel to eliminate as much water as possible.  Combine with the rest of the ingredients to make a thick batter, and fry in hot grapeseed oil. 

Bon appétit!

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