Makes 2 cups
This oil is a wonderful gift for those heat-lovers in your life! It’s great to add at the last minute to dishes, to swirl with a little balsamic vinegar for dipping bread, or mixed into fish or meat for tartare. If using olive oil, make sure to use a blend, something with a fairly neutral flavor. EVOO can be a little grassy and the chile flavor won’t be as clean.
2 cups oil (grapeseed or olive oil – not extra virgin)
10 – 15 dried “Bird’s Eye” or arbol chiles, depending on desired level of heat, plus 2-3 for after it’s cooked
1 – 2 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes, depending on desired level of heat, plus ½ tsp. for after it’s cooked
1 Tbsp. paprika
Put oil in a saucepan with “Birds Eye”/arbol chiles and crushed red pepper flakes and cook over a medium to medium-high flame. Watch and listen for bubbles, letting you know that the oil is getting very hot (depending on your stovetop and the height of the flame, this could be a few minutes, so keep an eye on it.)
When bubbles are coming up to the surface regularly – not just a few here and there – remove the pan from heat and stir in the paprika. The paprika will give more depth to the heat, as well as give you a nice orange-red color. Make sure the pan is off the heat before adding it or it may burn.
Let the oil sit and cool on the counter until it’s back to room temperature. Using a coffee filter or very fine mesh sieve, strain out chiles, flakes, and paprika. Pour into a bottle/jar with the reserved dried chiles and crushed red pepper flakes (for decoration and a little extra heat) and it’s ready for gift-giving. Stored in the refrigerator, it will last about a month.