August 28, 2014
Things are seriously heating up in my garden; we’re on hot chile overload. Fresno, Thai, even the normally milder Padron are smokin’ hot and in abundance. I know I’m not the only one feeling the heat. I’ve had numerous readers asking for ideas for their pile of peppers.
I recommend making fresh hot sauce with those chiles. This recipe tastes delicious and how fun is it to have your own house hot sauce to serve with meals? I love to drizzle it on eggs or pizza and it makes an awesome creamy salsa for fish tacos and tamales when you mix it with sour cream. It’s 8:00 am and already jonesing for some serious Mexican food. What time does El Bajio open?
If you’re going to be making hot sauce, look to a Louisiana boy to guide you through the process. I took a page from our friend Donald Link and his Real Cajun cookbook. This will take a few days to come together, but don’t let that discourage you —it’s worthy of the wait. Two tips from the recipe testing trenches (experience talking): Make sure to really rinse the salt off your chiles or your sauce will be too salty and always remember to use gloves when handling hot peppers, it will save you from potential agony.
Garden Fresh Hot Sauce
Adapted from a recipe found in Donald Link’s, Real Cajun
3 cups fresh hot chile peppers*, chopped, discard stems
2/3 cup kosher salt
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh oregano
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup sugar
*I prefer a mix of chiles. Here, I’ve used a combination of Thai, Fresno and red Padron chile peppers. Donald uses Criolla Sella Chiles and says if you want the sauce really hot, use Habeneros or Bird’s-Eye peppers.
Combine the prepped peppers and salt in an airtight container and seal. Set aside at room temperature for 1-4 days. This waiting time ferments the peppers and creates great depth of flavor.
Rinse the salt off the chiles and drain— I submerge the peppers and salt mixture in a bowl of cool water and then pour off into a fine mesh colander, rinsing about three times.
Heat the peppers, vinegars, oregano, garlic and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes. The liquid should reduce by about half.
Allow mixture to cool, then transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Store in airtight container. Your hot sauce should last a few weeks in your fridge.