Espelette Pepper Is The Fiery Ingredient Bobby Flay Uses To Spice Up A Raw Bar - Exclusive

bobby flay
bobby flay - Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There are a lot of elements that make Bobby Flay a celebrated -- and celebrity -- chef. His charm, charisma, and cooking have made him a household name, especially in culinary corners. Flay has lit up restaurant kitchens and TV screens with easy air and a signature cooking style, which is informed by the flavors of the American Southwest. So it may come as a shock to some that his latest restaurant, located in Las Vegas' Caesar's Palace Hotel and Casino, is a French brasserie. But these bustling eateries are near and dear to Flay's heart and he's always wanted to bring one of these restaurants to one of the nation's busiest cities. That said, he is definitely putting his own touch on the menu of French classics, a move that will no doubt have fans excited to try Brasserie B.

In an exclusive interview, Tasting Table senior editor Alexandra Cass spoke with Flay about his new venture and how he's intermingling Southwestern ingredients into Gallic gastronomy. A raw bar is pretty typical at many French restaurants, and it is usually a spartan affair that places the spotlight squarely on the seafood's incumbent flavors. Flay, though, eschews the typical, bringing a bit of spice to the raw bar by way of a commonly used French pepper. "Espelette is a French pepper, and so I created a hot sauce based on that flavor and that ingredient," Flay explains. "And that kind of permeates all the things in the raw bar."

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Bobby Flay Is Turning Up The European Heat

espelette peppers
espelette peppers - Mike Workman/Shutterstock

Frequently referred to by their full French name, piment d'espelette, espelette peppers are grown in southwestern France and Spain's Basque country. The chiles are often dried and ground to create a spice that is milder than, say, cayenne, but fruitier.

The espelette hot sauce works its way into many of the raw bar dishes at Brasserie B. For the scallops Sophie -- a dish Flay named after his daughter -- hot sauce and crunchy fried garlic bring texture and depth to the silky raw scallops. And that's not the only touch of heat coming with the seafood. "The prawn cocktail, for instance, it's got smoked chilies in the cocktail sauce," Flay says. "The blue crab cocktail, it's sauce verte, so it's got some tomatillos and roasted green chilies in it."

Elsewhere on the menu, Flay keeps up the heat with flourishes that mirror the cooking he is known for, but with unexpected ingredients. The flavors of Spain come alive in a dish he calls clams Barcelona that is redolent of not just shellfish, but smoke and sausage. "You get this cast-iron dish filled with these clams that are beautifully gratined, when you taste the flavor, you're going to taste the smokiness of the paprika, you're going to taste the spiciness of the chorizo," says Flay.

Click here for more information, or to make reservations at Brasserie B. The restaurant is open daily from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for brunch and 4:30 to 10 p.m. for dinner.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.