With deep roots in the Basque culinary tradition, espelette pepper (French: Piment d’Espelette) has long been prized for its sweet fruity flavor and warm slightly-smoky spice profile. While there’s a distinct red pepper aroma and bite on the finish, the balanced flavor and tame heat make for an indispensable and truly versatile spice. Once you experience the nuanced flavor it offers to any dish you will find yourself using it as often as salt & pepper:
- Bring brightness to marinades and dry rubs for chicken, pork or seafood. The spicy-sweet profile also makes a great complement to grilled or roasted veggies.
- Add an extra je ne sais quoi to your deviled eggs (sorry paprika!); turn up mayonnaise for a quick aioli-style spread; or add to vinaigrettes to make your greens really pop.
- For a quick summer pickle, dress peeled and sliced cucumbers with a squeeze of lemon, a good dose of sea salt, a pinch of sugar, and a healthy sprinkle of Piment d’Ville. Let sit for 30 minutes and enjoy with asian-style dishes or roughly chopped atop burgers or hot dogs instead of relish.
- Pair with lightly toasted nori as an unique and savory popcorn seasoning.
Sown, grown and harvested by locals in Mendocino County, technically this is not Piment d’Espellette. Much like regional-specific wines, there are strict AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protégée) designations in regards to the cultivation and labeling of true
espelette pepper. While these restrictions add to the challenge of finding this flavorful red chile stateside, we couldn’t be happier with the quality and freshness coming from our friends up in Boonville cultivating this prized varietal. Order a jar, start experimenting, and see for yourself why chefs call this “the third spice” next to salt & pepper!