Recipe: Marinated Calabrian Chilis

Over the weekend, we made our way down to Santa Monica for the first time post-pandemic.  It was so nice to be back and see a change of scenery, eat at new places, and stroll around the Santa Monica Farmers Market.  While we were at the market, we stopped at a super colorful stand to pick up some peppers and melons, which we have been snacking on and enjoying all week.  We left with a pile of shishitos, habanadas, and Calabrian chilis, all destined for different dishes throughout the week.

Calabrian chilis are small, red, and round, and have a fruity floral flavor that also packs a punch (they can be very spicy).  I’ve started seeing them in sauce form here in the US, such as the Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce sold at Trader Joe’s.  This is the first time I’ve seen them out and about in fresh form, although I’m considering growing some in the garden next year.  I’ve also seen them in Italian markets often canned or pickled, so keep an eye out for these chilis as they become more popular in the US!

Since I was lucky enough to score some of these in their fresh form, I decided to treat them simply to maximize their flavor and enjoy them throughout the week.  This recipe is super simple (although it does involve firing up the grill!), and involves lightly charring the peppers and tossing them in a vinaigrette made with white balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, and basil.  I added a little sugar and salt for that pickley-briny note that I wanted as well.  These were perfect straight off of the grill and tossed in the marinade, but have also continued to improve as they have sat in the marinade throughout the week.  Because I’m a spice wimp, I can only eat about 2 of these per day, so these have become a fun afternoon pick-me-up when I’m browsing my fridge for a healthy snack.

Recipe down below, photo up top and below! 

Marinated Calabrian Chilis

Ingredients:

  • 20 fresh Calabrian Chilis
  • ½ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • ½ tsp basil (fresh or dried)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Method:

  1. Wash and drain Calabrian chilis in a colander, set aside.
  2. Roughly chop garlic, rosemary, and basil.
  3. For the marinade, add white balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, basil, salt, and sugar into a sealable container or mason jar that is large enough to hold all of the peppers.  Add the lid and shake the contents vigorously until all of the salt and sugar has fully dissolved into the vinegar.  Set aside.
  4. Pre-heat a grill until very hot, and add the peppers to the grill (a grill pan may be needed for these, especially if the grates on your grill are wide as these peppers are pretty small).  Toss occasionally until the peppers start to char slightly on the outside. 
  5. Once starting to char, take the peppers off of the grill and add them directly into the marinade.  Add the lid to the container and shake around to toss the peppers into the marinade.  Keep the lid on the container and allow the peppers to steam in the marinade to continue cooking the peppers through until fully tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  6. After the peppers have cooled slightly and spent some time in the marinade, remove the lid and enjoy!  The whole pepper is edible except for the stem, so eat all of the pepper flesh and discard the stems as you go.
  7. These can be stored in the fridge in the marinade for up to a week.
  8. Enjoy!

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