Homemade red chili pepper salt gives flavor to the rustic dishes so typical of southern Italy. Like the dried red chili pepper flakes to be found in open-air markets, this cupboard essential is meant to be tossed over pasta with garlic and olive oil, sprinkled over melted mozzarella with oregano and mixed through salads of freshly cooked beans with marinated onions.
I happened upon the technique while looking for a means of saving too many fresh peppers. As often is the case with kitchen accidents, the result is out of the ordinary. While the juices of the peppers soak into the salt crystals, the sliced pepper rings dry slowly at low heat in the oven. The outcome is a grainy, bright red and spicy salt.