Aleppo pepper has crept into my cooking over the years and has become as much a staple as salt (overstatement — close to salt) (salt is THE most necessary seasoning condiment).
But consider: aleppo can be thought of as a hot pepper, but it’s not that hot. For me, it spikes the food not heats it. It gives it a LIFT. Wakes it up. Use more and you can get heat. But it’s a subtle heat…it’s a sleepy heat…it’s a heat that feels tame and feisty, too. The flavor is smoky and deep. Dare I say: perfect?
What do I use it on? Aleppo can jump into almost anything except the most delicate and I leave it out of desserts.
Making a ricotta filling for ravioli? A little aleppo gives it some pep. (You know how ricotta can be. Creamy, but needs salt…and aleppo).
Roasting some asparagus? A little aleppo wakes them up.
Aleppo turns meats into soulful mouthfuls…
roasted lamb with fennel
Tomato Sauce loves a little aleppo…
Seafood and aleppo go out on dates all the time…
Savory Breads just love that little punch of aleppo…
tomato & olive baguette
Lasagna embraces a small shake of aleppo…
Frittata’s say yippee when aleppo visits….
And don’t forget pizza! What more can I say?
Get some! You’ll soon figure out how much you’d like for whatever dish you want to give a little nudge to – or a lot. I always find it at Penzeys Spices, or if you have a Savory Spice Shop near you, I know they carry it.
Enjoy the heat this winter! 🙂
mushrooms and tomato
They say accessories make the outfit. Well, how would you accessorize eggs?
I start with what’s in the refrigerator. OR I see what’s in the refrigerator and think: “that would make a great frittata.”
So to accessorize my eggs I’d sometimes choose mushrooms, or potatoes, or peppers, or tomatoes, or leftover pasta, or herbs and onion. Or all of that.
Today the chameleon took on the color of tomato and mushroom. And eventually well-goldened egg.
Mushroom Tomato Frittata
And even tho this chameleon couldn’t blend so as to disappear against the background of the kitchen, it, nonetheless, looked…splendid.
I started by heating some olive oil in a stainless sauté pan. Added some sliced mushrooms…
…cooked till softened…
…cracked 4 eggs and whisked with parmigiano and salt and pepper…
whisking egg with parmigiano
…put eggs in the pan with mushrooms…….added tomato slices. Cooked over medium heat until bottom was set…
tomatoes in frittata
…then put under broiler for 3-5 minutes until golden….
DON’T FORGET THE HANDLE ON THE SAUTE PAN IS OVEN-HOT….when you take it out use a potholder and then leave the potholder on the handle to REMIND yourself it’s hot!
Loosen frittata from pan and slide onto a serving dish. Cut into wedges. Hot or room temp (even cold). Yay. Yum.
I lived in Rome for a year while completing my third year in college. Actually, school was just an excuse to live there. My parents visited Rome for the first time a couple of years before. They were bowled over and came back booking the next trip to bring my sister and I. On my very first night in Rome I felt the world closing in around my heart and head. It was too much. I wanted out. I felt that crush of culture shock while that tug of “I know this very well” rushed underneath me.
By morning. I was in love. With Rome. I finagled a year there under the guise of going to school. My Roman roommate, Grazia (later to be called Enrica), was a free-spirited Roman, much to the chagrin of her parents. She moved out of her family home at 17 to live on her own. No one moved out of their family home unless they were getting married. Her dad disowned her for a few years but softened later.
Many adventures for me ensued under the wings of Grazia, but also within my college circle. But here I’d like to show you a recipe that made my jaw drop when I first saw Grazia make it. Spaghetti Frittata. Yes, spaghetti fried with eggs. A spaghetti omelet if you will. I loved it at first bite but was supremely skeptical till then.
This works best with leftover spaghetti in its leftover sauce — whatever it is! My favorite has turned out to be leftover spaghetti in a tomato shrimp sauce (yes, including the shrimp).
about 2-3 cups leftover spaghetti in sauce
5 large eggs
1/4 cup grated parmigiano or pecorino
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil for frying
In a mixing bowl, mix together the spaghetti, eggs, and cheese until well combined. Season with salt & pepper (remember, the spaghetti might be already seasoned, but the eggs need some). Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium oven-proof skillet…enough so the frittata won’t stick, or use a non-stick pan. Heat until hot. Pour the egg-spaghetti mixture in and gently spread so it covers the width of the pan. Let cook a few minutes until the bottom is set, and then put under a broiler. Broil till top is set and golden. (Be carfeul taking out skillet from oven. When placing it out of the oven be sure to leave a pot holder on the handle so you don’t forget it’s hot!) With a spatula loosen frittata and slide onto a plate. Cut into wedges with a pizza cutter. Serve warm or at room temp.