How to make hot pepper chili oil…and feed an addiction and use it everywhere! I mentioned at the beginning of the year, one of my recent flavor obsessions is peperoncino, hot peppers, and the most seductive form of peppers to me is olio piccante, hot pepper oil. (Like cooking? Check out my other Recipes)
It’s most frequently seen in pizzerias here but sometimes I wanted to add it to everything…Pasta dishes and sauces, lentils, beans, fish, even a spicy salad dressing! Kick my Caprese salad up a notch, saute onions and sausage in it instead of regular oil, make a spicy pesto!
Instead of forking out the money for an unknown brand or stealing the bottle at my favorite pizzeria, I decided to make my own. I bought a bunch of fresh peperoncini at the market this fall. They looked so pretty and they were really cheap, less than 1 euro. Had I known how much joy they would bring me, I would have bought several more bunches. These are a smaller version than the huge Calabrian peperoncini I saw at the Artigiano in Fiera.
I hung them by their stems in a dry place, and waited. Every now and then, I checked up on them to see how they were doing, and picked off a few that were getting black or weren’t drying properly. I asked around and read up on the best way to make hot pepper oil, but I didn’t really find any recipe that stood out as exceptional or authoritative.
I decided to go with a “hot infusion” instead of a cold infusion (leaving the peppers in oil for several days) because I was impatient and was ready to use it that afternoon! Be sure to have plastic gloves on if you’re handling the hot peppers.
- Wash your container (mine: glass bottle) out with hot soap and water. If you can, boil it in water to disinfect it properly.
- Pour your oil of choice (seed, corn, peanut, olive) into a frying pan and heat the oil. Turn it off well before it gets to the smoking point.
- Let it cool for a minute or two. Break up the dried peppers into the oil. I didn’t include the stems, but I think you could if you like. More than likely, it will be still quite hot and they will sizzle or “cook” and immediately diffuse their heat into the oil. From now on, the oil is spicy HOT!
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature. At this point, you can strain the oil before returning it to the container. With the first batch, I removed the pepper pieces and left the seeds, and with the second batch, I strained everything. The seeds are the spiciest part of the pepper so they will help keep things nice and hot!
Voila’! Hot Pepper Chili Oil!
Note 1: Some of you may have heard about botulism and how there is a risk when canning at home (more info here). I am not a expert or nutritionist, so please make sure to take the necessary precautions and inform yourself when canning or making infused oils, with whatever method you choose. Be on the lookout for cloudy or mouldy particles in the oil. You’re welcome to leave your own tips and/or links in the comments to help others!
- Side note: While researching this, I was shocked to realized that Botox is actually a purified version of this bacteria!
Note 2: Using a high-quality (extra virgin) olive oil is not suggested as the hot pepper will override any nuances in the oil – i.e., it won’t harm the final product, but it won’t improve it, either…so save your money. A canola or other seed oil is a good choice, too.
And if you still needed convincing on how cool this oil is, read up on how spicy foods can kill cancer!
This my candy bowl!