With Espelette Salt, Make an Easy Weeknight Meal That Tastes Like A Weekend Feast

Herbs & Spices
With Espelette Salt, Make an Easy Weeknight Meal That Tastes Like A Weekend Feast

When it comes to peppers, there are few if any out there that have the kind of sacred recognition that the Piment d'E'spelette (or Espelette pepper) carries.

This spicy 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 is grown in the French municipality of Espelette, in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, a department in the southwestern corner of France. It takes its name from the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean. Covers the French Basque Country and Béarn.

In 2000 the pepper was classified as an AOC product, 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 geographical protectionism.

The chili pepper itself is native to Central and South America and was later introduced to France in the 16th century. Initially used for medicinal purposes, it later became popular as a condiment and for preserving meat.

Today it has become a staple of Basque cuisine, so much so that it has replaced black pepper in typical cuisine. It is a key ingredient in Piperade, a typical Basque dish made with stewed onion, green pepper and tomatoes, flavored with red Espelette pepper.

The peppers are harvested at the end of summer. By September, the peppers are hung on the balconies and walls of houses in all villages to dry. Every year, on the last weekend of October, an annual pepper festival is held which attracts over 20,000 tourists!

The peppers themselves are sweet, slightly smoky, and only score a high of around 4,000 on the Scoville scale, considering them quite mild. The most striking thing about these tasty chili peppers is perhaps their extreme versatility.

When mixed with coarse Spanish salt, it becomes a recipe of greatness! Espelette pepper salt is perfect on both meat and seafood and totally ups the game with every vegetable it touches.

We took this amazing salt and used it to season thin slices of pork loin – or tenderloin. The slices should be browned on a very hot pan, no more than a few minutes per side. After the pork pulled apart, fresh broccolini was steamed in the same pan.

This reduces the amount of pans you have to clean and also allows the broccoli to absorb some of the pork juices. To plate everything, a little brown rice is used to support the main stars.

We added a little kimchee to accompany the peppery Espelette and give the dish some zing.

The possibilities are truly endless. It is certain that the new Espelette salt will be very useful in your winter cooking. Enjoy!

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