Peperoni sott’olio – chili’s in olive oil with garlic and mint leaves – Salento style

P1020607After yesterdays harvest I have spent some time preserving my chilis, I have made chili jam, green tomato/apple and green chili jam/Black habanero honey recipes to follow and:  peperoni sott’olio, hot peppers under oil, which is essentially what Nonna Di Giulia makes, but I am sharing a recipe that comes to you from  le ricette di Lilly

Essentially this is a very simple recipe. It is very definitely from the school of throw things together, so I don’t have any weights to share with you. In order to mix hot and less hot chilis and also for visual appeal I used Bolivian Rainbow chilis, Turkish green chilis, and Turkish red chilis.

BOLIVIAN RAINBOW CHILI (left):   Marinating in white wine vinegar. Spot mostly ripe red ones, the almost ripe orange ones and a couple of un-ripe purple chilis in the mix. I wanted to use the Bolivian rainbow chilis  for this recipe, but as they are apparently extremely hot,  I decided to temper them with green Turkish chilis.

TURKISH GREEN CHILI (below):  if you extract the seeds they are mild, you can eat them like a regular green pepper, if you leave the seeds in they pack  a bit of heat at around  2/10 with seeds (my simple scale 1 a little bit of heat, say a jalapeno grown here in Switzerland to 10 – a birds eye chili grown in Thailand – hot, hot, hot..

P1020604 P1020603 P1020602 P1020605 And then just to mix it up a little I also added  TURKISH RED CHILIS: which come in at a 5/10 on the heat scale.

Ingredients: you will need: 1) 1 liter of white wine vinegar or more, at any rate enough to cover your chilis to marinate them over night, 2) some cloves of garlic, 3) some fresh mint leaves, salt, 4) chilis (or you could even use peppers if you don’t like anything hot) 5) good quality olive oil. Clean jam jars.

The recipe is very definitely from the school of throw things together – if you like approximations: I used about 2 cups of Bolivian Rainbow chilis, 2 cups of Turkish green chilis, 1 cup of Turkish red chilis, 5 cloves of garlic, 25 leaves of mint, and filled 1 liter and 300ml worth of jam jars, lets say have about 800ml of olive oil handy.

P1020608 What to do:

1) Wash your chilis, and then either leave whole if they are tiny, or else cut them into slim slices, 4mm approximately. Leave the seeds in, unless you are a wuss. Use gloves, you don’t want to go anywhere near your eyes with hands that have chopped chilis, and the Capsaicin is hard to wash off.

2) Place the chilis in non-reactive bowls, ie not metal or plastic, use glass or ceramic. Cover them with the vinegar, salt liberally and marinate 24 hours.

3) strain the chilis, peel your garlic cloves and chop into slices, tear the mint leaves into pieces

4) have your jam jars clean, sterile as far as is possible in a kitchen environment, I fill them and the lids with boiling water and then tip this out the moment I am ready to fill them, others put them in the oven at 200°C for a good long while and then fill them hot.

5) Pour 2 finger widths of olive oil into each jar, add in some garlic slices and some mint leaves, add in the chilis, after filling about half way, pour in more oil, add some more slices of garlic and some more mint, fill up with chilis, leaving about 1 cm at top which you will fill with oil. Ensuring that the chilis are not in contact with oxygen at any time. Do not close the jars tight so that there is no vacuum and the oil can settle and leave overnight until the oil has settled, check the jars in the morning and fill up with olive oil if necessary. At this point you can screw the lids on tight, and then you place the jars in a cupboard and forget about them for a month.IMG_1832

In my planning this takes me right to Christmas at which point I will be giving some of these lovely jars away as gifts.

chilis in oilThe peperoni go really well with some bread and cheese. They make a great  appetizer when you are planning to sit and talk for a good long while before sitting down to the main meal. They partner well with a “harsh” i.e. not too (smooth/heavy/suave), in the best sense of the term, the red wine, we had a Spanish 2006 Dehesa La Granja Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Léon Bodegas y Vinendos Fernandez Grupo Pesquera which worked really well. Naturally if you are going to drink Italian, and you probably should, then go with a Primitivo from Salento, the same region the recipe is from, or else a Cannonau from Sardinia.


5 thoughts on “Peperoni sott’olio – chili’s in olive oil with garlic and mint leaves – Salento style

    • Hi Rhonda

      they are very pretty aren’t they! you can use any chilis you can find – my family in Apulia uses what they have down there, I use what I can find or grow here, and I know that in Southern California you are spoiled for choice. I have mixed some spicy chilis with not so spicy chilis, the first time I made it I only used mild green chilis and one of my guests asked: couldn’t you have thrown in a habanero or two?

      My recommendation would be that If you wanted it not too spicy you could use some jalapenos as the main chili and then mix it up with something hotter, in general as you would be eating this with cheese maybe and a nice wine you probably wouldn’t want it to be burning hot spicy. In general I’d aim for a bit of spicy kick, but no burn 🙂

      I found a list online with chili pepper heat ratings:

      Hope this helps would love to hear how it came out for you if you do try it



  1. Dear Isabelle
    havent’t looked at your blog for a while but must tell you that your pictures and ideas are phantastique. If I were not that lazy I would try some of your time consuming mum mum recipes.

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