Chili peppers weren’t always so popular. Before Szechuan cuisine came along in the late 1960s most of the food we ate in this country was really mild and bland.
Okay, there was Tabasco, but that was just about it. Look in the supermarket now and you’ll see bottles and bottles and packages of Harissa, Schug, Thai chili pastes and Sriracha and all sorts of other “hot stuff.”
We’ve been in search of hotter and spicier everything for ages now.
A few years ago my brother, who lives in Argentina, told me about another hot condiment called Pebre, which is similar to Chimichurri, with lots of chopped up chili peppers plus cilantro, parsley and so on.
Pebre is Chilean but well known in other South American countries. Somehow not as well known here.
But it should be. I’ve made it many times. When I was writing Hip Kosher and wanted to bring in some new and different seasonings for the recipes, I decided to experiment with this particular sauce and in the book I paired it with beef kebabs.
But, Pebre goes with any grilled or roasted meat and it’s a good dip for grilled vegetables too. You can use it as a marinade and also a condiment/dipping sauce. Also, you can add a little to mayonnaise or vinaigrette dressing to use on salad, especially potato salad.
1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 large garlic cloves, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small habanero or serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
Process the parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, lemon juice and pepper in a food processor until they are finely chopped. With the machine still on, gradually pour in the olive oil. Makes about 1/2 cup