The Daily Spud

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Spud Sunday: The Great Aleppo Pepper

Swoon.

I have a brand new Valentine (Mr. Tayto take note).

His name is Aleppo (which, granted, makes him sound like one of the Marx Brothers), he hails from Syria, he’s red hot (well, he’s perhaps not as hot as some, but just hot enough for me) and smells, as best I can describe it, of tobacco.

Hmm. Not sounding so attractive now, is he?

Aleppo Pepper

Meet Mr. Aleppo Pepper

Give him a chance, though. Mr. Aleppo Pepper is worthy of your attention.

He arrived at my doorstep nestled amongst a host of goodies sent to me by Oz from Kitchen Butterfly (who is equally worthy of your attention, btw). Mine was the lucky number drawn in Oz’s first giveaway, so I received a beautiful basket filled with a veritable treasure trove of kitchen props.

Kitchen Props from Ozoz

Just some of what the Kitchen Butterfly sent

There were spices too, among them the aforementioned aleppo pepper. Dark red chili flakes, fragrant, slightly smoky and, yes, with an aroma reminiscent of fruity tobacco. Oz had used some in her muhammara (and I’ll put some in mine next time too) but mostly I was thinking, hello Mr. Pepper, you’d be right at home with some spuds.

I was immediately filled with visions of potato chunks, roasted with oil and a generous helping of aleppo pepper, or perhaps a bowl of potato salad scattered with some of those fruity chili flakes. What with Pancake Tuesday just around the corner, though, my first date with Mr. Aleppo Pepper was, instead, deliciously crêpe-like. And it definitely had the taste of more Valentines to come.

Savoury Potato Crêpes

Savoury Potato Pancakes

The batter here contains both sour cream and mashed potato over and above what you might expect to find in a basic pancake batter. Plus aleppo pepper, of course, as well as some oregano and cumin (a good buddy of aleppo pepper and firmly on the the A-list of spud spices).

You can eat these on their own, though they’re even better with some grated cheese melted on top – some parmesan or a sharp cheddar, say. You could also have them as an accompaniment to a bowl of chili or – here’s a thought – use them to wrap your favourite enchilada filling instead of the usual corn tortillas. That, I think, might be rather good.

You’ll need:
  • 300g potatoes (2 smallish specimens), preferably a floury variety
  • 1 large clove garlic, lightly crushed using the blade of a knife and cut into 3-4 pieces
  • 150g plain flour
  • 0.75 tsp salt (plus more for boiling the potatoes)
  • 0.75 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g sour cream (or substitute natural yoghurt)
  • 300ml milk
  • 2.5 tsp aleppo pepper (or substitute 2 tsp sweet paprika + 0.25 tsp cayenne)
  • 0.75 tsp oregano
  • butter for frying
You’ll also need:
  • A potato ricer is a useful, though not essential, piece of kit here.
The Steps:
  • Peel your potatoes and cut into roughly even-sized slices, around 1-2cm thick. Rinse them under cold water.
  • Bring about 600ml of water to the boil in a saucepan, add about 0.75 tsp salt, the crushed garlic and the potato slices.
  • Bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, for around 12-15 minutes or until just fork-tender.
  • When the potatoes are done, drain well and return them to the saucepan. Then either let them sit, covered by a tea-towel, for about 5 minutes or place the pan over a low heat and stir the potatoes gently for a minute or so while they dry out.
  • Put the cooked and still warm potatoes through a potato ricer, if you have one, or mash with a potato masher or, if all else fails, a fork. Leave aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the batter ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and ground cumin.
  • In another large bowl, whisk the eggs together well, then add the sour cream and whisk to combine.
  • Add the mashed potato to the eggs, mixing in well, then add the flour, mixing until just combined.
  • Now gradually whisk in the milk. You should end up with a batter having a consistency similar to that of unwhipped cream. Don’t worry too much if the batter is a little bit lumpy – if it seems very lumpy, just strain through a sieve.
  • Finally, add the aleppo pepper and oregano and stir to mix.
  • If you can wait that long, let the batter sit, covered, for 15-30 minutes before cooking.
  • Place a frying pan over a medium-high heat and, when hot, add a teaspoon of butter. When that has melted, add a ladleful of batter to the pan, swirling quickly so that it coats the pan thinly. Cook for 1-2 minutes until set and the base is browned, then flip and cook briefly on the other until browned. Repeat with the rest of the batter and either serve the pancakes as you go or keep warm in the oven until all are cooked.
  • Enjoy on their own or topped with some melted cheese, or do the whole enchilada thing if that takes your fancy.
The Variations:
  • Change the herbs and spices to suit your mood – you could use a mixture of parsley and thyme here, or some dill perhaps, each with a different savoury effect.
The Results:
  • Around 1 litre of batter, enough for about 10 x 22cm crêpe-like pancakes

23 Comments

  1. I am SO jealous of you winning Kitchen Butterfly’s prize! Had my own valentine date with a Hungarian Chilli paste which proved to be hot stuff!

  2. Well I guess I’ll give Mr. Aleppo Pepper a try although my heart still belongs to Mr. Tayto :) Definitely sounds intriguing and your potato crepes look fabulous!

  3. This Mr. Aleppo Pepper looks like the pepper flakes I always use in various dishes. However, I’ve never used it in such a scrumptious looking potato crepe. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Look at all those goodies! And my god, I literally yelped when I saw those crepes, they looks completely amazing. WANT!

  5. Daily Spud

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    yvonne: It was a lovely prize to win, that’s for sure! And I must check out that Hungarian chili paste if things with Mr. Pepper don’t work out :D

    Phyllis: Worth a try if you should come across it (er, I mean him) :) And I haven’t completely renounced Mr. Tayto – he just needs to know that he’s not the sole object of my affections, lol

    zerrin: I suspect that Mr. Aleppo Pepper is indeed the very same as the pepper flakes you would use in Turkey – I will have to keep that in mind when looking at your recipes in future!

    aoife mc: and you can only see a fraction of the stuff I got in the photo – fabrics, cute little plates and serving dishes – including the one that the yelp-inducing crepes are on; a lovely basket of stuff to receive for sure

  6. Congrats on your win! Make the muhammara again with the pepper!

  7. I love Aleppo pepper, and had not known you were not already introduced! Kitchen B is indeed a wonderful blogger and a joy to read, so no new discovery there. What is new is that look of those incredibly tasty crepes. Ah the torture to stare at them longingly on the computer screen and know that I’ll not be having some of those tasty fellas for dinner. I need to remedy that soon!

    I also recognize the dish from Kitchen Butterfly’s goodie box. You lucky girl!

  8. What a lovely gift bag of goodies!! You certainly made good use of the Aleppo pepper!! those potato panckes look so good,…to good to eat,..hahhahah,…

    I just gave you an AWARD!!! Yeah!!

    Come over @ my latest post & pick it up!! Congrats!

  9. Great that you liked your aleppo, Spud! I travelled in Turkey where this, and other similar, pepper is widely useful. as you can imagine when it’s fresh it tastes sooo different than its dry version, but one has got to start somewhere!:)

  10. This is a great use for Aleppo pepper. It’s become one of my favorite ingredients, personally, so I like to see new ways of using it.

  11. Smiling. So glad you received it. I hope you love the box and its contents? Take care

  12. Wow!!! I have also had the pleasure of receiving a goodie box from Ozoz in the past-Her boxes are wonderful! I really like that aleppo pepper. That is awesome.

  13. Perfect for Pancake Tuesday! As a pancake person, you know I can’t resist these crêpes but I used the all of my potatoes last night and there’s not a flake of Aleppo in the house. Ah, but tomorrow is another day and of course, I still need to pick up the Jamesons for the apple pudding. I’ve got quite the shopping list now!

  14. Daily Spud

    Monday, February 15, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Duo Dishes: thanks – I reckon I will have to do exactly that!

    OysterCulture: I know – I wish I had met Aleppo sooner – think of all those wasted years :D And yes, that is one of those lovely dishes from my collection of goodies – lucky girl indeed.

    LindaMary: why welcome along and thank you!

    Sophie: you are too kind, thank you my dear :)

    Katrina: oh absolutely – I’d love to go to Turkey and try the fresh stuff, but in this meantime this will serve a good introduction

    Fearless Kitchen: I can see it becoming a favourite here too – will definitely be trying it out in different ways

    Kitchen Butterfly: Oh Oz it was all so bee-yoot-ti-ful – the basket, the mini-woks, the leaf plates, the mints, the tonka beans, the lot. It was a really thoughtful package to receive, thank you so much.

    Velva: agreed 100% – she packs an excellent goodie box!

    Tangled Noodle: yes I did realise that you, as the acknowledged Pancake Lady, would be obliged to give these a whirl – I will await news of how you get on with these and the boozy pudding :)

  15. I definitely need to try the aleppo pepper if I can find it, a very intriguing ingredient! And I love your savory potato crepes, yum!

  16. I pretty much always go for the savory crepes, and the more spice the better! Will need to add this to my “must do” recipes list!

  17. one of my current favorite peppers. the flavor has so much more depth than some others. it’s soooooo good. i’d highly recommend anyone getting some. if you live in the US, Penzey’s Spices has a great one (for under $5, i think).

  18. I found this great site on tweet http://www.myspicesage.com that has so many rare and wonderful salts and such. I have not explored marx yet, been wanting to, but I bet if you follow myspicesage she will take care of you, tell her Chef E sent you!

    Ha you just tweeted me! Love it!

    Ha! Dr. Pepper is is…love it Spudsy! love it…

  19. Aleppo is one of my favourite peppers. You can buy it from http://www.thespiceshop.co.uk and they do ship to Ireland at a reasonable price.

  20. So glad that I now have a new pepper to try. I love the look of it in that jar. I really need to take on the challenge of crepes. I love eating them out, but find making them myself a bit overwhelming. These potatoe crepes will be the first on my list when I overcome my fear!

  21. 5 Star Foodie: do try aleppo pepper if you get a chance, definitely worth investigating!

    Clare: I’m a big fan of savoury crepes, I need to remember to make ’em that way more often

    We are never full: thanks for the pointer to Penzey’s – I’ve heard good stuff about their spices

    Chef E: myspicesage sounds like the kind of site I could get dangerously distracted by!

    George: thanks a mill’ for that link, good to know

    Lori: Well I hope that you manage to overcome your fear of crepes soon! In the meantime, there are lots of other things that you can use aleppo pepper for :)

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