You’ll need a kilo of peppers. Because of its versatility and loveliness, this is not a crazy amount. It is excellent on eggs, tacos, steak or clinging to a chip. With crème fraîche on roasted potatoes it is transcendent.
Jalapeños and yellow chili peppers in equal parts with their innards removed make it hot, but not painful. Fermentation adds depth of flavor, and sweet white balsamic vinegar provides balance.
Collect 500 grams of green jalapeños and 500 grams of yellow chilies. Also get some kosher salt. Diamond brand is an excellent choice because it has only one ingredient: salt. Many brands contain anti-caking agents which inhibit fermentation.
Back in the kitchen, slice the stems off the peppers, then split them lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pith with a spoon.
Press the peppers into a large fermenting crock or lidded jar and add 10 grams kosher salt. Cover with non-chlorinated water and let it sit for 7 days at 70 degrees F. If it’s cooler, add a couple days; hotter, subtract a couple. At the end of this fermentation period, the liquid will become cloudy, with little bubbles of CO2 creeping upwards steadily.
You’ll need about a pint of white balsamic vinegar, a blender or food processor, a mesh sieve, some clean bottles and a funnel. Empty the crock into the sieve to strain the peppers; discard the liquid. Place peppers in the food processor or blender and add enough white balsamic vinegar to liquefy the sauce. Funnel into bottles. Taste it. If you’d like to push the flavor a bit further, you may leave it out for a couple more days, or refrigerate to halt fermentation.
What variety of yellow chile peppers do you recommend? Peperoncinis? Something else? I definitely want to try this recipe, but don’t want to blow the top of my head off by using Scotch Bonnets or Habaneros!
The ones I like are easily found in most supermarkets. In mine they’re labelled “yellow chile peppers;” they were next to the jalapeños. They are a pale yellow in color and moderately hot.
I’ll talk to some of my gardener friends and see if they can give me some more specifics.
The recipe is really flexible too. You can substitute any hot peppers.
Let me know how it turns out!