Back in the spring of 2012 my girlfriends and I decided to spend a Saturday afternoon cooking at a class that was held in Harlem through Jackie Arnett, where we learned to prepare simple and healthy Middle Eastern food. It was at this class that I was introduced to a new spice, Aleppo pepper. Aleppo pepper originates from the city of Aleppo which was along the Silk Road in northern Syria which now includes Turkey. When ripe the pepper becomes a burgundy color and then is dried, de-seeded and ground coarsely to be used along other Middle Eastern spices like sumac, paprika, and dried mint. Aleppo pepper has a very mild heat level with some fruitiness and mild cumin undertones and has been described as being similar to the ancho chile in flavor profile. I was able to find Aleppo pepper at a a spice shop right in Murray Hill called Kalustyan’s. If you are in search of a particular spice or sauce this is the place to go. I went to look for some Aleppo pepper and ended up pacing the aisles for about an hour doing some good ole food exploring. Ok, enough of the back story about this recipe…it is time to get cooking!
mediterranean chickpea salad
adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen
This recipe is perfect for someone that cooks for one. It will make 3 servings
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1/2 jar of roasted red bell peppers (6 oz of 12 oz jar)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (mine came from straight from my mother’s garden)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of capers
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon caper brine
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1 garlic clove, use a microplane to mince
- 1 1/2 tablespoon EVOO
- salt and pepper to taste
1.) Drain chickpeas and rinse with water in a colander. Be sure you allow ample time for the chickpeas to drain well and dry thoroughly.
2.) Heat EVOO in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add chickpeas and Aleppo pepper and brown and saute until golden for about 10 minutes. Gently toss chickpeas so they are well coated with the Aleppon pepper. After cooking the chickpeas, remove from the stove and cool.
3.) While your chickpeas are cooking, chop roasted red peppers, mint and measure capers. Make sure all these ingredients are well drained.
4.) Combine all dressing ingredients together and whisk thoroughly.
5.) Mix chickpeas, roasted red peppers, mint, capers, and dressing in a salad bowl. Stir until the ingredients are well coated. You can serve this salad immediately or allow a few hours-overnight in the fridge for the dressing to really work its magic and marinate.
I’ve made this recipe for a healthy homemade lunch option and doubled it to take to a picnic in Central Park. The opportunities to use this recipe are endless. Have you cooked with Aleppo pepper before? What other recipes do you think you can incorporate this spice into?