Chilean Pebre Sauce
A Chilean barbeque, aka asado, is never complete without serving a spicy sauce, pebre, as an accompaniment to the meal. Although the ingredient list is similar to an Argentinean chimichurri sauce, pebre is generally not ladled over grilled meat but served on top of grilled bread as a “bread spread,” over salads, portos granados, boiled potatoes, empanadas, stirred into soups or drizzled over choripan. While chimichurri relies primarily on flat-leaf parsley, garlic and red wine vinegar to create its iconic flavor profile flavor, pebre uses cilantro as its predominant green, along with Aji chili peppers (which are moderately hot and fruity-tasting), onions, garlic and tomatoes.
There are many regional variations to this iconic South American condiment. While some pebres look like a chunky Mexican pico de gallo, which includes chopped tomato, chiles, cilantro, garlic and fresh lemon or lime juice, this recipe is an homage to the Northern Chilean-Style pebre, which is more like a sauce. The flavor profile is slightly spicy, which has a sweet-fruit forward taste. The traditional Aji Amarillo chili pepper is substituted with sweet yellow and orange bell peppers (do not use red or green bell peppers), with a spicy red Fresno chile pepper thrown in for “heat.” Moreover, the garlic and bells are lightly roasted in the oven to bring up the sweetness and temper sharpness, while the spicy Fresno chile is seeded to reduce its “heat.” Add half of the Fresno chili if you are sensitive to a chile's “bite”; use the whole chile if not. This exquisite yellow sauce keeps three days in a frig (if it lasts that long) and makes a great pairing for grilled fish, boiled potatoes or as a dip for chips.
Chilean Pebre Sauce
1 organic yellow bell pepper
4 yellow Veggie Sweet Mini Peppers
4 orange Veggie Sweet Mini Peppers
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 red Fresno chile pepper
Avocado spray oil
½ small yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
¼ cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime, about 1 tablespoon
½ teaspoon kosher flake sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat toaster oven to 350°F degrees. Line a tray with foil and place peppers, chile and garlic cloves on foil. Lightly spray veggies with avocado oil spray and gently toss to coat.
Place veggies in toaster oven and bake till soft but not charred or browned— about 10 minutes. Remove veggies from oven and allow to cool. Remove stem from peppers and chile, then shake out seeds.
Place garlic, mini-bell peppers ½ Fresno chile, and olive oil into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to purée. Add cilantro, white wine vinegar and lime juice and pulse several times to incorporate. Add salt and black pepper, then taste to adjust seasonings.
Pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator for several hours to allow flavors to develop.