This recipe and introduction is from my cookbook Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet.
During early spring when there are fewer seasonal goods to choose from, purple sprouting broccoli is a saving grace. It’s exotic, delicious and versatile – and here, I’ve maximised its flavour by chargrilling it on a barbecue or griddle to give it a marvellously bitter flavour, which works beautifully with the sweet-salty Aleppo pepper flakes.
Aleppo pepper or pul biber as it is known in Turkey is made from Halaby peppers, a mild capsicum of about 10,000 on the Scoville heat scale. Its mild heat means it can be used liberally on dishes, adding bags of flavour and a vivid dash of bright ruby red colour. Aleppo pepper was traditionally grown in Syria and traded from Aleppo, which lies on the famous silk road spice route. Sadly, the Syrian conflict has all but wiped out the crops and trade, but fortunately the spice is still available from elsewhere. It truly is a wonderful ingredient, celebrating a beautiful country and cuisine.