Lemon Drop Hot Sauce

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

This hot sauce is a perfect last-minute dash of heat and flavor. Despite its benign color, it's fairly hot, but not as face-meltingly spicy as a brew whipped up from habaneros.

Purists may scoff at the inclusion of olive oil and honey in this sauce, but it rounds off the heat and helps the lemon flavor sit on the tongue. You can go without it if you want the sauce hotter. You shouldn't have to worry much about the raw garlic and oil breeding botulism spores—this is an acidic environment that doesn't force air out—but if you're really concerned either use the sauce quickly or cook your garlic first.

If using fresh lemon drop chiles, simmer about 2 cups of seeded peppers in the vinegar until soft, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Lemon Drop Hot Sauce

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About This Recipe

Yield:makes about 1 1/2 cups
Active time:10 minutes
Total time:10 minutes
Special equipment:blender
This recipe appears in: Spice Hunting: Lemon Drop Chiles

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce dried lemon drop chile peppers (about 1 1/2 cups), stems and seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
  • Honey, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

Procedures

  1. 1

    In a skillet over medium heat, toast chiles, coriander, and cumin until just fragrant, about 10 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer to blender along with garlic, vinegar, and olive oil. Blend until very smooth, scraping down sides of blender as needed, for 3-5 minutes.

  2. 2

    Pour hot sauce through a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl. With a rubber spatula, push sauce through strainer to separate all liquid from chunks of pepper and spices. Add honey and salt to taste, starting with about 1/4 teaspoon, then transfer to a very clean bottle or jar. Store sauce in refrigerator, where it keeps well.

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