Olio Santo


Meaning ‘holy oil’ or ‘oil of the saints’, olio santo is a piquant seasoning of extra-virgin olive oil spiked with red chillies and other zesty seasonings. This particularly fragrant version comes from Clifford Wright’s Cucina Paradiso: The Heavenly Food of Sicily and includes black and white peppercorns and cardamom.

I like to use it as a dip for bread, or to season plain foods such as grilled white fish or steamed vegetables. Shake the bottle before use making sure you include a few whole spices as you measure it out.


  • black peppercorns ½ tbsp, crushed
  • white peppercorns ½ tbsp, crushed
  • fresh red chilli ½, chopped
  • fresh bay leaf 1, broken in half
  • garlic cloves 2, finely chopped
  • green cardamom seeds from 2 large pods
  • salt ¼ tsp
  • extra-virgin olive oil (preferably single estate) 500 ml/18 fl oz bottle


Mix together the crushed peppercorns, chilli, bay leaf, garlic, cardamom seeds and salt. Add this mixture to the bottle of olive oil. Cork or cap the bottle and leave for 20 days before using.