Chile Oil

September 11, 2009

Sort of a pantry sleeper…think marinades, vinaigrettes, grilled meats and fish, with spinach or broccolini, roasted potatoes, sautéed or grilled fruit, grilled or toasted breads, drizzled over asparagus or cauliflower, and for the true ovum slag (like yours truly)—with eggs in whatever form.

Chiles are the fruit ( or pod) of a plant in the genus Capsicum. They come in fresh and dry forms and can range from sweet to intensely ER trip torrid. Ancho, meaning “wide,” is a dried poblano chile which is wrinkled, fleshy and fullbodied with a mild fruit flavor and a hint of coffee. Guajillo, which means “little gourd,” is a thin skinned, complex flavored chile which also has a slight berry flavor with a nutty finish. Both chiles are burgundy in color when dry and range from mild to medium in heat.


3 dried chiles anchos, whole, stemmed and seeded
3 dried chiles guajillos, whole, stemmed and seeded
1/2 C canola oil
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1 t cumin seeds, roasted and ground
1/2 t sea salt

Heat a large, heavy sauté pan over dry medium high to high heat. Add the chiles and toast until they crackle, change color and release their natural aroma, about 30 seconds on each side. If they begin to smoke, the chiles have toasted too long or the heat is too high, and they will burn and become bitter. Remove, let cool slightly and coarsely chop.

Combine chiles, canola oil, olive oil, cumin and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Strain into a bowl, then strain again into a glass container preferably with a spout. In the refrigerator, this should store for 2-3 weeks.


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