I don't know if I love this recipe more for the peppers or for the oil they are preserved in. I love these peppers on hearty home-made bread with a sharp cheddar cheese. The oil is great drizzled over bread, sandwiches, grits, polenta, and pasta. This was an extremely useful addition to our pantry and is on our must-have list.
This recipe is adapted from one for Asparagus preserved in oil from Pam Corbin's River Cottage Handbook No 2 Preserves.
Probably my most used preserving book; I've gotten some really great ideas there.
Use a good, but not really expensive olive oil.
Makes 2 jars (1 x 500 ml, 1 x 250 ml)
500g Hungarian Peppers tops, seeds and membranes removed
300ml cider or white wine vinegar
2 fat garlic cloves or shallots, finely sliced (I leave mine whole)
1 tsp peppercorns
A few rosemary, thyme or basil sprigs
100ml lemon juice
400 - 500ml olive oil
Put the vinegar and 200ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, place a griddle pan over a high heat. Add the peppers and cook, turning once or twice, until lightly charred. Drop the peppers into the hot vinegar bath and leave for 3-4 minutes. This sharpens the flavor of the peppers while the acidity assists in preventing bacterial growth.
Put about 2/3 of the garlic or shallot and peppercorns in the sterilized 500ml jar. Remove the peppers from the vinegar bath and pack them upright into the jar. Add a few herbs. Pour over 2/3 of the lemon juice, then cover completely with oil. Seal with a lid. Repeat the entire process with the smaller jar, using up the remaining peppercorns, garlic, herbs, lemon juice and oil.
Keep in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks before using. Consume within 4 months. Once opened, keep in the fridge, making sure the peppers in the jar remain covered with oil, and use within 6 weeks.