This brilliant invention is a staple on every table in the Salento peninsula in the southern part of Puglia. Olio Santo (see photo) is a spicy-hot olive oil made by adding dried red peppers (or crushed red pepper). After several days, the olive oil absorbs the flavor of the peppers and becomes very spicy. It is a perfect condiment for Puglian dishes such as Puglian potatoes, beans and greens, or oven-roasted green peppers, or even simple fresh bread and some good cheese.
Olive-oil purists object to flavored olive oils, but I find this combination better than the sum of its parts. It is true that the flavor of the olive oil does not come through quite as purely as it might otherwise, but drizzled over a simple Puglian dish, this oil shines.
1. Combine the peppers or pepper flakes and olive oil. Let sit for several days in a cool, dark spot. Use judiciously.
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