Last week, the good folks at Lezzet Spices sent me a sample of a spice that’s become my new obsession: isot pepper. It’s described as having a smoky raisin-like flavor. Personally, I get more dried plum than raisin. And it’s got a mild-medium heat that lingers and builds on your palate. “But Tim,” you say, “hot, smoky prunes just aren’t my thing.” I know, I know. But did I mention that it’s also really moist? Fresh mulch kind of moist. And no, I’m not a paid spokesperson. 

I guess what grabs me is that its flavor and texture are so unique. And while it may not be as versatile as say, regular ol’ red pepper flakes, I can think of several ways isot can be put to excellent use, e.g.: mixed into a spice rub for grilled pork, sprinkled over stonefruit salsa, or baked into oatmeal-raisin cookies. I highly recommend adding it to your spice cabinet arsenal. Lezzet sells a 1.6-ounce tin for about $8.