This morning, not only do I have a killer recipe for hot sauce, I also have some killer news to share!
I’m beyond excited to announce that I’m going to be doing a little cooking demonstration on the Today Show next week! I’ll be on Thursday, April 28th between 8am and 9am (EST), so mark your calendars, set your alarm clocks, and check your local listings (the Today Show is on NBC). I’ll be whipping up a favorite family recipe called Spiedini that ironically, I posted exactly one year ago. I hope you’ll tune in and watch me (hopefully) not act like a total goober on screen.
Now, on to the hot sauce. It’s hot! But not too hot. It’s inspired by a place called Pancho, which is a little taco joint that sits next to the famous White House Sub Shop in Atlantic City. Any time of day you’ll find people lined up outside of White House, waiting to taste one of their amazing, old school sandwiches. But what they don’t know is that the tiny little unassuming spot next door has the most fire tacos they’ll ever try. (Plus, no line!)
Fire has a double meaning in that statement. They’re fire in the figurative sense, but also quite literally. The menu is small and totally made from scratch, right down to the fresh corn tortillas that you can watch them make to order. Everything is served up with bottles of their insanely spicy housemade green and red hot sauces. Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I drown my tacos in both sauces until I can’t feel my face. But I love it.
Last year I made a version of the green stuff, but this time around I attempted the red. I have no idea what kind of chiles they use (they won’t tell me, of course I tried asking), but after making this, I’m pretty sure it’s not guajillos. This version is less spicy and has a tangy, fruity quality to it. It’s really delicious on tacos and any other Mexican food, or used as a robust sauce for meats and fish.
If you can’t find guajillos or want your sauce to be spicier, experiment with your favorite dried chiles instead. Use the method in the video, and whatever you make is bound to be fire… both literally and figuratively.
One Year Ago: Spiedini Alla Siciliana
- 15 Guajillo Chiles, stems and seeds removed*
- 2 cups water, more as needed
- 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1/4 small white onion
- 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar, to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or comal over very high heat. Once the pan is smoking hot, place the chiles on in a single layer (work in batches) and toast for a few seconds on each side. The chiles should turn bright red and become pliable, but be careful not to let them burn. It can happen in a matter of seconds and will turn the chiles bitter.
- Transfer the chiles to a bowl and cover with about 2 cups of boiling water, or more as needed. Set aside and allow to soak for at least ten minutes. While the chiles are soaking, place the garlic cloves and whole piece of onion on the hot skillet, and turn until charred on all sides, about 8 minutes. Allow the garlic to cool, then remove the skins. Transfer the garlic, onion, chiles, about half of the water, vinegar and salt to a blender.
- Blend on high until nice and smooth, then taste and add more water, vinegar and salt as needed to adjust the seasoning and thickness. Continue blending until totally smooth. Transfer to a bowl or squeeze bottle and keep refrigerated** for up to 2 months.
- *Feel free to substitute your favorite dried chile, or a combination of a few different ones. Choose dried chiles that are slightly pliable and not brittle, an indicator of their freshness. Removing the seeds will result in a less spicy, smoother sauce. Leave the seeds in for added heat and texture.
- **For longer storage, seal in an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.