I absolutely adore Chinese chili crisp. My recipe for Chinese-style green beans is one of my all-time favorite and fast vegetable side dishes. And recently, I got to thinking: couldn’t I make tons of variations on this delicious condiment? And the first idea that popped into mind is a little East meets West fusion with this spicy Italian chili condiment.
The OG chili crisp is a mix of spicy, crunchy, and umami forward ingredients. So with that in mind, I pulled together a blend of items that mimics those tastes with an Italian flavor profile. The result is so, so tasty. In fact, I put a dish of this out with my holiday charcuterie platter and it got rave reviews from my guests.
This is a fairly easy recipe and you can use it in so many ways: use it to top sandwiches, pasta, or veggies. And like I said, it was a hit on a charcuterie board. This makes about a pint of chili crisp which should last a while–a little bit goes a LONG way. It’s an awesome condiment to have in your pantry. And I think this would also make a great gift for the foodies in your life.
I used Sohla’s recipe for chili crisp on Serious Eats as my base, but swapped in capers, anchovies, and Italian spices for the Chinese flavors in her recipe. But honestly, why not make both: your dumplings and Italian hoagies alike will be all the better if you have both of these styles of chili crisp on hand.
Italian Chili Crisp
- ⅓ cup Italian crushed red chili flakes
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 3 tbsp capers drained of brine, rinsed, and patted dry
- 3 anchovy fillets minced
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves roughly chopped
- ½ tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp MSG optional (but great!)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1½ cup light olive oil no need for fancy olive oil here
- ¾ cup thinly sliced shallots sliced as evenly as possible; ~1 large shallot
- ¼ cup thinly sliced garlic cloves sliced as evenly as possible; ~5 large cloves
- In a large, heat proof glass bowl, mix together the chili flakes, pine nuts, capers, anchovies, thyme leaves, oregano leaves, sugar, salt, MSG, and pepper. Set aside.
- Add the olive oil to a medium pot and add the shallots. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the shallots start to turn a light golden brown. This will take about 3-5 minutes once the oil starts bubbling heavily. Don't let the shallots get to brown–they will cook a bit more when you remove them from the oil. Once they are golden brown, use a slotted spoon to move them to a paper towel lined plate. Try to get every shallot out of the pot. Next, add the garlic to the pot and continue to heat the oil on medium until the garlic is toasted a light brown color. Remove to the same paper towel lined plat.
- Place the oil back on the heat and let the oil heat to 375F. Remove from the heat and carefully pour over top the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir well. Then let sit to cool for about 30 minutes.
- Once the oil has cooled, stir in the fried shallots and garlic. Move to a pint size mason jar with tight fitting lid (or other similar container.) This will last months on your shelf, but you will probably use it pretty quickly!
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