Hot Peppers Preserved in Oil
(Peperoncini sott’Olio)


I mistakenly thought this recipe was in Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian, but found to my
chagrin that it is in Marcella’s Italian Kitchen. My apologies to all of you for the fruitless
searches you must have done trying to find these family favorites.
 
On second reading, Marcella’s recipe is much too complicated and spends too much
time on the mechanics of squeezing the excess water out of the peppers. All you need
is a colander or large strainer, a small saucer or plate to rest on the peppers, and a
plastic soda bottle (full of soda or water) to serve as a weight.
 
Use any small pepper, red or green. Jalapenos work fine. Get them on sale and make a
bunch: they keep for weeks. Refrigerated they keep for years. ½ lb. with 2 tbs. of salt
will make about a pint.
 

 
            Wash the pepper, slice off the stem and discard, and slice the pepper into
            rounds about 1/8 inch thick. Place them in a bowl and add kosher salt to
            coat them evenly. Place in the colander, and put the colander in the sink or
            in a shallow pan to catch the dripping pepper liquid.
 
Place a plate or saucer on top.It should be smaller than the diameter of the colander.
Balance a two liter soda bottle on it and leave overnight. Discard the water that has
dripped from the peppers, spoon them into pint size wide mouth mason jars, and cover
with vegetable oil, making sure to release trapped bubbles. Do not overfill: the peppers
need to be covered, because anything sticking up will probably mold. Put on the lids,
date them, and store in the back of your old beer fridge until wanted.

 
If you plan to use them up quickly, you can use olive oil and keep them in a cool dark
cupboard.

 
Suggested uses: as hot peperoncini with antipasti; on nachos; fried with pancetta for a
spicy breakfast; to chop and fry as a base for refried beans or red sauce for pasta. Use
for anything you would use fresh jalapenos. The oil from the jar is hot, and suitable for
use in hot and sour soup.