Monday, May 7, 2012

Cooking with Dr. Monkey

Today's episode: Roasted Red Jalapeno Pepper Sauce.

I bought a gallon of these fine peppers at the Western North Carolina Farmer's Market yesterday:

 And since the majority of them were way too far gone to pickle, that is to say they weren't fresh and crisp, I decided to make a sauce out of them.  So I started by washing them, then I began slicing them down the length of the pepper:

 Next I scooped out the seeds and ribs with a spoon:
 Once I had sliced, deseeded, and deribbed my peppers I laid them all skin side up on a cookie sheet:
 I then drizzled extra virgin olive oil and a table spoon of sea salt all over them and I stuck them in the oven to broil.  I left them in the oven about 15 minutes, until the majority of them began to get charred.  This is what they looked like when I pulled them out:
I peeled off most of the charred skin but I wasn't anal about it, if some stayed, that was fine.  All in all I probably skinned about 75 percent of the peppers.  Next I put them in my food processor and I pulsed them all together.  I had to add more olive oil to get the consistency I wanted.
 Once I had finished processing them this is what my sauce looked like:
It's got some heat but it's not outrageously hot.  Some people eat peppers just to get the heat and they don't get the real flavor of the pepper, all the nuance of the flavors.  This sauce captures all the nuances and more.  I use this sauce to flavor broths, on sandwiches, quesadillas, and tacos.  I drizzle it on meat, fish, and dip bread in it.  I also use it in Asian dishes where I want a steady bit of heat and tons of flavor.

Since this sauce has a good bit of oil in it, I refrigerate it after I get it made.  I don't put it in the pantry with my salsas, jams, pickled products, and other canned stuff.  It will keep for a month or two and I usually use it up well before that time is up.

Some words of warning about making this recipe:
  • It's messy to make.  Seeds will  get everywhere and they are hot.  Be careful.
  • Wear gloves when handling the peppers and refuse of the peppers, if you don't then make sure you use extra caution because the oil of the pepper will get on your hands and if you touch your eye or your genitals they/it will burn like crazy.
  • Wash your hands often even if you use gloves.  
  • Expect your hands to be contaminated with the oil of the pepper for a couple of days.  The capsaicin, the compound which is the heat in the pepper, will fade pretty quickly but it has remarkable staying power too.
  • If you compost do not put the seeds and ribs in your compost bin, you don't want plants growing in your compost.  
  • Even though I refrigerated the two jars I got out of this, I still sterilized my jars and the part of the lid that came into contact with the sauce.
If you want to make yours hotter, don't discard as many seeds as I did, I took out most all the seeds and all the ribs.  You can add other spices to your sauce if you like, cumin would be good, also garlic and pepper.  Go nuts, come up with you own concoction.


Devilham said...

Was making chili yesterday and totally got capsacin in my eye, hurt so bad I thought I had torn my cornea at first, then I noticed that my tears were burning my cheeks as well, and it dawned on me what was happening.....good times!!!!!

Jim said...

good stuff (HOT!) good stuff.

gmb said...

Someone once told me that he learned the hard way why one should wash ones hands after handling jalapenos and before going to the men's room. He'll never do that again!