There are few things as exciting to me as new culinary encounters. Especially, when they are as simple and delicious as this one. Olio Santo is a south Italian chilli infused oil. It can be used for anything, but I find it truly shines when paired with warm food like roast vegetables or pizza.
Now, I know chilli infused oil might not strike you as the ultimate revelation but give this thought a moment. You’re sitting at the table with your favourite dish in front of you, but it needs an ever so slight kick. Yes, there is sriracha, Tabasco, chilli oil and even sambal that you could use. Let’s face it though. All of them are very strong and sometimes just a little bit too overwhelming in delicate dishes. Solution? Olio Santo – Italian chilli oil.
This is how I was introduced to it. We had white pizza, and I mentioned that I missed a bit of heat and didn’t want to reach for a hot sauce and ruin the delicate mushroom pizza. The response was: “I wish we had some olio Santo in the house.” I was puzzled at first but instantly sold when my boyfriend explained what it was. He encountered it in Italy where he used to spend his summers as a kid.
Since I infuse vinegar, salt and oil myself on a regular basis, I instantly decided to make some. There were a lot of chillies left from the summer harvest, so all I needed were a few bottles and glass containers to store it in.
Anything that has an airtight lid and is made of glass can be used for this. I gathered a few random flasks and jars from my ever growing collection and got straight to it. The 3-week wait was more than worth it.
This oil is a real multi-talent, I LOVE it.
It is wonderful in dressings.
Gives roasted vegetables a subtle kick.
It adds heat to anything with ease.
Olio Santo makes a great gift for people who love a little bit of extra spice. It adds heat to anything with ease without overpowering the flavours of a dish – unless you want that. I am not stopping you from entirely filling a jar with chillies and topping it with oil. Frankly, I encourage any form of adaptation. Changing recipes to suit your needs and taste is all that cooking is about.
If you decide to give Olio Santo a try, do let me know how you liked it. Leave a comment, rate it and feel free to tag your versions on Instagram with #gloriathegreedyvegan so I can find them.
- 1 tbsp small or chopped chillies choose any chilli that you like
- 500 ml olive oil extra virgin
- If you use homegrown or fresh chillies, you need to dehydrate them. It is important that they are completely dry.
- Remove the green stems and cut the chillies lengthwise to remove the seeds. Depending on how much heat you want you can decide to leave the seeds and add them the oil - I always leave them in. Roughly chop them and add them to the bottle.
- Top the chillies with the oil and close your jar or bottle very tightly.
- Place the oil in a cold and dark place and let it rest for at least 3 weeks. The time is necessary for the chillies to infuse the oil.