SpiceWatch: Aleppo Pepper

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Aleppo woos tasters with cumin-like complexity and a deep rich aroma, somewhere between coffee and smoke. Aleppo is kinder to the tongue than dried red pepper flakes, that staple of kitchen spice racks and pizza parlor take-out counters.

If aleppo is unavailable, four parts sweet paprika and one part cayenne pepper can be substituted, but that misses the point.

Aleppo has a more graceful taste, some call it slightly fruity. I plan to sprinkle aleppo on a melon and mint salad in the summer. I've served aleppo with scrambled eggs and mixed it with cucumbers and plain yogurt for a simple salad.

I discovered aleppo at World Spice Merchants in Seattle, where it is sold for $2 an ounce. Penzeys sells a .8 oz jar for $1.99.

Aleppo looks light and flaky, somewhat similar to the texture of finishing salt. Experts say aleppo is a must to deliver authentic Mediterranean flavor and fragrance.

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Today is national Wear Red Day -- a campaign for heart health. Aleppo is our little way to contribute something red to the day. Learn more about how to lower the risks of heart disease here.

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