I love the global economy. The Fountain of Youth for new flavors and fragrances. Just when we were getting tired of the old and tried recipes, the doors burst open to new cuisines and methods of cooking. When tagines can be found at TJMaxx, deeply discounted, you know this is no longer something new. Now I know how the courts of Europe must have felt when they first tasted these spices and why they spent so much money sending men and ships in search of the Spice Islands.
Aleppo pepper flakes are now my new heat of choice.
I know what you are going to say....Oh God here we go. Now that we've gone through the salts, here come the peppers. No, I stopped at Himalayan pink salt. I still have a burlap bag of sea salt from Guarande that I brought home from France about 10 years ago, It still sits on the shelf. Too precious to use. Never got over that feeling. So it sits on the shelf waiting for "just" the right occasion while I use sea salt or Kosher salt. Julia Child used to say, salt is salt. Wrong. Not all salts are created equal, nor are peppers.
As you know I am an Ottolenghi groupie and I have noticed that a lot of his recipes call for Aleppo pepper. I have been substituting my regular old red pepper flakes, as heat is not a big thing with me. Don't get me wrong. The right amount of heat is necessary to bring up a recipe to perfection but not enough for me to have a shelf full of different peppers. That changed on my last visit to the World Market last week. I love this place...you never know what you will find. Into my basket went a tin of Aleppo pepper together with a bottle of preserved lemons. You can get all this at a Middle Eastern market but I am in Georgia, in the country, and heaven knows where that is.
I couldn't wait and had my first taste tonight...over Fettuccine Alfredo. Oh my. I have never gone this wild for heat! Mildly hot and so classy and elegant. I am a fan. If this is on leftovers I can't imagine what it will be like on an Ottolenghi recipe.
My friend and fellow blogger Sam Hoffer of My Carolina Kitchen is as taken with Aleppo pepper flakes as I am. It is amazing how synchronized she and I are on our recipes. When she published her post mine was getting the final touches!
There are a million combinations for deviled eggs, from capers and tarragon, to plain old paprika and mustard. Experiment with what you like, and make them your own. In the meantime, try these. For big holiday meals such as this, I go light on hors d'oeuvres, but for Easter, there's always a tray of these around.
3/30/2016 Note: You will not be able to find the authentic flakes from Aleppo due to the war in Syria. You will be able to find them from Southern Turkey or styled Mediterranean Aleppo pepper flakes. Sadly ISIS has not only destroyed antiquities but also Aleppo pepper fields as well. They are not sure when the fields will be back in production, if at all.
Aleppo Pepper Deviled Eggs
12 large eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard or Durkees Famous Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or cayenne
Special equipment: a pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch star tip (optional)
Garnishes: Aleppo pepper, paprika, chopped fresh chives or Parmesan cheese
Cover eggs with cold water by 1 1/2 inches in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, partially covered. Reduce heat to low and cook eggs, covered completely, for 1 min. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Transfer eggs with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking and let stand 5 minutes.
Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks and mash in a bowl with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and Aleppo or cayenne pepper and stir with fork until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Fill pastry bag with yolk mixture and pipe into egg whites. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and Aleppo pepper sprinkled on top.