Peperoncini sott’Olio

Hot Red Peppers Preserved in Oil

These peppers in oil provide a more succulent alternative to dried peppers, when fresh hot peppers are not available. Use them in any recipe of this or other Italian cookbooks that call for hot peppers. To the flavors of stews and pasta sauces, the tiny, tender rings of peppers add a high-pitched accent that will jab a nodding palate to attention. They can also be used as a condiment at the table whenever appropriate, as in a salad, for example. A few drops of only the olive oil in which they are put up often will supply all the fire one wants.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound fresh, hot peppers, preferably the small, red Italian ones, but also other varieties, such as jalapeños
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • A -cup pickling jar with a tightly closing cover
  • A jar or water tumbler taller than the pickling jar, but narrow enough to fit inside it
  • A weight, such as a heavy meat pounder or a stone
  • Extra virgin olive oil, if planning to use them within 6 months or, to keep them longer, vegetable oil

Method

  1. Wash the peppers and remove their stems.
  2. Slit them lengthwise along one side to expose their seeds. Remove and discard as many of the seeds as you can.
  3. Cut the peppers crosswise into open rings about inch thin.
  4. Place the rings in a bowl, add the salt, and mix well.
  5. Transfer the peppers to the pickling jar. Put the tumbler or narrower jar into the pickling jar, inserting it bottom end first. Turn both jars upside down over a bowl or deep dish. Place the weight on top of them. The weight will press the contents of the pickling jar against the bottom of the narrower one, forcing liquid out of the peppers. Let stand for 24 hours.
  6. After 24 hours, turn the 2 jars right side up, remove the narrower one, and pour enough oil over the peppers to cover amply. Screw on or clamp on the cover of the jar. The peppers are ready to eat, but they are better after 1 week. You may refrigerate them, but they will also keep well in a cool, dark cupboard.

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