Piment d’Espelette

Piment d’Espelette

Piment d’Espelette, known as Ezpeletako biperra in Basque, a dried red chili powder from the French Basque region. A protective designation of origin mandates the peppers only come from in and around the town of Espelette, in the province of Labourd, and are grown, harvested, and prepared according to strict guidelines. The peppers are harvested in late summer and early autumn, strung by hand to dry in the sun, and dried further in wood-burning ovens prior to being ground into powder.

Complex, with a subtle spiciness, many chefs claim there is no substitute. Chef Gerald Hirigoyen, in his cookbook Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition, calls for Piment d’Espelette in many of his recipes, including Basque Fries, Crispy Shrimp, and the Caramelized Onions with Idiaz√°bal Cheese pintxo. The book is an invaluable resource if you’re looking for recipes for pintxos that are a bit more labor intensive but worth the effort.

Piment d'EspeletteAdam Badaoui