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May 5, 2014 09:52 AM

Chili oil a la French pizza joint

After spending a year in France, the food item I remember with the most fondness is chili oil. They had it in all the pizza places, sitting in sticky bottles that you'd drizzle on your eggy pizzas. The pizzas were forgettable, but the oil a spicy sweet memory.

Twenty years have passed, and I have never, ever been able to recreate it. I've tried Italian chili oil recipes, Chinese chili oil recipes, made up my own chili oil recipes, looked through French recipes. I've tried different kinds of chili flakes, added garlic and different kinds of olive oil. Mine never measures up. It always tastes flat and hot, no matter how fancy I get with the ingredients.

Does anyone here have experience with French pizza chili oil? Any tips on how to recreate this marvel?


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    1. re: boogiebaby

      I don't see a mention of what kind of chiles to use - this could really make a difference.

      1. re: sandylc

        Excellent point. I'm on the hunt for French chile varities.

    2. Interesting question! It's called Huile Piquante (spicy oil)

      I did a quick search and found a blog that claims the key is to let the chilies in the oil for at least 3 months. Just olive oil and dried chilies.

      Here is the blog.

      Here's another blog. This one says let it sit of two months.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Springhaze2

        Thank you, Springhaze and boogiebaby! Nice to see I'm not the only French pizza oil fan. I've never let it sit for such a long time but will do so and report back.

        1. I believe I have had the chili oil you describe, at pizza joints in Paris.

          It looks like Springhaze2's links will set you on the right direction, and fortunately, it does look like a very simple process.

          The chili used in the huile piquante may be Espelette, but I'd be surprised. Espelette is used largely in Basque cooking. Also, Espelette is pretty low heat, and isn't usually considered a hot pepper. I'm not sure what, though, grows in France for traditional hot peppers.

          1. Maybe move this to the Paris board. They are very accommodating.