Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Aleppo Pepper: Silk Roads and Subpar Steaks

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 2:02 PM

click to enlarge Aleppo, Syria - IMAGE VIA
Welcome to Spice World, in which Gut Check looks at overlooked spices from around the world, introducing those you don't own but probably should.

History: Though its label says Turkey, Aleppo pepper takes its name from Syria's second largest city, located just south of the Turkish border. Aleppo was famed for being one of the last stops on the Silk Road, the main trade artery that connected Asia with Europe and Northern Africa some 2,000 years ago.

Though Aleppo, Syria, is regarded as one of the world's oldest continually populated cities, it gradually became a less important player in trade, its access to the rest of the world cut off first by sea and then by land. But its relative remoteness has resulted in a well-preserved city that's seen an upsurge in popularity in recent years, and its famed markets are again returning to the spotlight.

(Not to mention the Turkish spice markets that, yes, made an appearance on this season's The Bachelorette.)

Today: Visitors to Turkey report that Aleppo pepper is a condiment frequently found sitting on restaurants' tables. But here, the chile is commonly used as a substitute for crushed red pepper or paprika or as a rub for grilling.

Its appearance is similar to crushed red peppers too, except that it's a bit oily and has a red-orange sheen. Plus, Aleppo pepper doesn't contain seeds; its smoky ancho flavor ranks it just below chipotle peppers at 10,000 Scoville Units.

Aleppo pepper-rubbed steak - KRISTIE MCCLANAHAN
  • Kristie McClanahan
  • Aleppo pepper-rubbed steak
In Use: When used generously as a rub on a really crappy cut of steak (pictured), it has a depth that's not found in pizzeria-style crushed red pepper. In fact, it's almost enough to salvage a tough piece of meat bought (admittedly, on sale) for $3 a pound.

Good as it is, it's no miracle worker, but Aleppo pepper is certainly worth trying again on a nicer steak and would give tired chicken on the grill a nice lift with its smoldering summery heat.

We found Aleppo pepper at Penzeys Spices (7338 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-781-7177) in .8-ounce ($2.89) to 16-ounce packages ($18.70).

What overlooked spices heat up your kitchen? E-mail Gut Check!

Tags: ,

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 9, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation