How to Cook With Red Chili Peppers
Someone emailed me asking about cooking with a red chili pepper. Here's what they said, "Hi. I'm going to make the pasta in garlic oil tonight. I grew a small red chili pepper in a pot on my deck that I really want to use.
I will take out the membrane and seeds and chop them really small. Not sure when to add it to the oil. I am thinking I should add it before I add the chopped garlic. What say you?"
I emailed my friend and mentor Chef Ricco and he agreed the pepper should be added before the oil but asked the question, "Why take out the seeds at all?"
His technique is to cook the pepper whole. He leaves the stem on and cooks it on medium-high heat but warns not to let the pepper burst. By cooking the pepper whole and discarding after, you give the oil a spicy but mellower flavor than cutting it up.