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Preserving the Season: Hot Chiles

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From Fine Cooking #112, p 16
By Dave De Witt

I’ve been growing and writing about chiles for more than a quarter-century now, and one of my favorite ways to preserve them when they’re at their late-summer peak is to make Louisiana-style hot sauce.

Typically made with cayenne or tabasco chiles, this vinegar-based sauce is a hallmark of Louisiana cuisine and is ubiquitous on restaurant tables throughout the state. My homemade version is spicy, of course, but it also has a brighter, cleaner flavor than that of any store-bought brand, and it couldn’t be easier to make. You char and peel fresh chiles, purée them with aromatics like basil and garlic, and then combine the purée with vinegar, which boosts the flavor and preserves the sauce. Once strained, it’s ready to spice up hamburgers, barbecue sauce, Bloody Marys, classic Cajun dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and dirty rice, and anything else that could use a fiery kick.

The Recipe: Louisiana-Style Hot Sauce










Saftey Note

Capsaicin is the compound that makes hot chiles hot. It can irritate your skin, so be sure to wear gloves when handling chiles. Ventilate the kitchen, as well, to keep the chile fumes from building up and becoming too intense.


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