Chef Fermín Núñez’s Habanero Chile Oil
This garlicky, lemon-scented and spicy habanero-infused oil is great for drizzling on pizza and comes together in just a few minutes. Dreamed up by Fermín Núñez, the man behind the Mexican food hotspot Suerte in Austin, Texas, the resulting oil is a great way to make use of coriander stems you might’ve otherwise thrown away.
Chef Fermín Núñez is a powerhouse on the American food scene, one who has created some of the best plates in Austin. A winner of Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs 2021, Núñez is at the top of his game. Our culinary advisor, Kelsey Small, worked alongside him at Suerte, plating the famous brisket tacos, nixtamalizing corn, and making oils — which is how we came to realize this particular oil, usually used in a grilled sweet potato dish, would also be excellent on pizza.
We love this habanero oil drizzled on pizza topped with just about any combination of toppings, but especially one that’s mild or sweet like our Acorn Squash and Quesillo Pie. In addition to squash and quesillo, toppings like sweet potato, roasted chicken and cotija work well with this spicy oil. And it’s not just designed to blow your head off with spice! Garlic, lemon zest and coriander add fresh, citrus and herbal notes that round it out into something truly sensational.
This recipe is part of our Garnish of the Month series.
Notes: This oil is full of delicious bits, which means it’s best when spooned directly onto food; pouring from a jar or using squeeze bottles will be a challenge. If you want more spice, include whole strips of habanero in your drizzles. For less heat, use just the oil and leave behind the peppers.
¾ cup (100 grams) garlic, thinly sliced
1⅓ cup (300 grams) extra-virgin olive oil
8 habanero peppers, thinly sliced
5 tablespoons (33 grams) freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup (20 grams) coriander stems, chopped
zest of 2 lemons
Add garlic and olive oil to a medium saucepan and turn the heat to medium-high. Stir frequently as the heat rises to prevent sticking and ensure an even cook. Cook the garlic until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the habanero. Fry in the oil until the peppers are soft and completely cooked down, about 7 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the black pepper, coriander stems, and lemon zest.
Rest for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.