Sun and Spice

The little-known aleppo pepper makes a great substitute for paprika or cayenne.

aleppo pepper
Aleppo pepperTodd Coleman

Cooks all over the world rely on chile powders, from paprika to cayenne, for heat, but ground aleppo pepper, featured in many of the Turkish dishes in Soul of a City, adds much more. Named for a city in Syria, aleppo chiles, a variety of Capsicum annuum, are seeded, sun-dried, and crushed. The resulting russet-colored shards convey hints of tobacco and a lemony piquancy that meld brilliantly with other flavors, and their coarseness can add an unexpected textural dimension to salads, kebabs, and sauteed vegetables.