Pepperoncino, crushed red pepper flakes, used to be my go-to heat for cooking. I never used a lot of it. I’m not a big heat fan. But I look for heat-spices to lift a dish — give it a boost — not really wanting to burn the tongue in any way, but have an echo of flavor ringing.
Then I discovered aleppo pepper. I feel like aleppo pepper was made just for me! Not as hot as red pepper flakes, nor cayenne. If you sprinkle enough of it it’ll fire up your mouth, but a moderate or small amount gives the spark, hit, umph, that I’m often looking for in a dish. Tomato sauce, ravioli fillings (ricotta calls out for a lift), meat braises.
From what I understand it’s a Syrian (you’ve heard of the terrible destruction going on in the city of Aleppo, Syria) or Turkish spice. I can only find it at Penzeys Spices. They have an online catalogue (and print catalogue) of any spice, extract, dried herb you can imagine. And their aleppo pepper is perfect!
Here’s Penzeys website: Penzeys Spices …get their print catalogue, too, it makes for delightful slow reading about spices. They source from all over the world.
Once you have this spice on your shelf you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it!