When it comes to peppers, there are few to none out there that have the kind of hallowed recognition that the Piment d E’spelette (or Espelette Pepper) carries. This piquant little pepper is the star of our Espelette Salt a new offering from the flavor experts at Lafayette Spices! It’s bright, bold and beautiful and will quickly become your new go-to for seasoning your favorite dishes.
The Espelette Pepper has a storied past. It’s cultivated in the French commune of Espelette - in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, a department in the southwest corner of France. It takes its name from the Pyrenees Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. It covers the French Basque country and the Béarn. In 2000 the pepper was classified as an AOC product – which is a special French certification typically reserved for very important wines, cheeses, and butters. It is based on the concept of terroir and a form of geographic protectionism.
The peppers themselves are sweet, slightly smoky, and only obtain a maximum of about 4,000 on the Scoville scale – considering them to be pretty mild. The most impressive part of these tasty little peppers is perhaps their extreme versatility. When blended with coarse Spanish salt – it becomes a recipe for greatness! It’s really the perfect accompaniment to fall cooking. We’d recommend cracking a hearty amount over some butternut squash just before roasting. Don’t forget a generous drizzle of local honey and some slabs of butter. The sweet smokiness of the espelette pepper will sink into the squash and you’ll be left with something magical and memorable – much more so than any piece of average meat.
Another fantastic application would be a roasted cauliflower preparation. The Espelette Pepper Salt would lend a fantastic color and flavor to the otherwise pedestrian vegetable. Slather the halved cauliflower with some nice olive oil and season it liberally with the Espelette Pepper Salt. Roast until tender and crispy, then top with orange zest, crumbled feta cheese, and fresh pomegranate arils.
When it comes to working with this treasured seasoning, try to think out of the box. The peppers come from France, and the salt is from Spain - the salt finds a welcome home in just about any preparation you can dream up. That is to say, push the boundaries a bit. This European sourced product can just as easily be used in preparations based in Asian, African, and South American cooking. Be creative, and let your imagination run wild!