Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nuclear Fission “Hots” Pepper Relish

With temperatures expected to dip into the upper 20s this evening, we picked a ginormous amount of green cayenne peppers before they could freeze overnight. Which begs the question, what in the world do we do with them all?

Normally on a hot summer day, the guys would toss some wieners on the grill and load them up with mustard and some freshly chopped chilies and onion, so why not preserve that combo in an all-in-one relish. A little research revealed that this is not a new custom. Apparently in Baltimore, Maryland, when you order a sandwich in a sub shop, a specialty called “hots” is offered along with the usual array of condiments. I imagine this relish would be amazing on scrambled eggs, on tortilla chips like salsa, or served over grilled pork and chicken.

Although pepper of the same variety are supposed to have the same level of heat units on the Scoville scale, in our experience green cayenne peppers seem hotter than their riper (and redder) brethren. As a result, this relish with the under ripe peppers, onion and mustard gave off napalm-like vapors while simmering and a tiny nibble brought tears to my eyes – just the way my guys like it! I would recommend exercising caution when using this relish, even sparingly.

  • 1 pound (about 3 cups) hot green peppers, stemmed
  • 1 medium (about 1 cup) yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed

Roughly chop onion and hot peppers (any combination of cayenne, serrano, jalapeno) removing seeds if you prefer to reduce the heat a bit. Place peppers and onions in work bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade. Pulse until peppers and onion are finely chopped. Add in salt and toss to coat.

Transfer the pepper mixture to a fine mesh strainer set inside a bowl and let sit for 2-3 hours. Rinse the peppers under cold water and drain. Press the peppers in the strainer to remove as much water as possible.

In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve to sugar. Add in pepper mixture and mustard seed, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you prefer to can the relish, ladle hot pepper relish into sterilized jars and follow directions to hot pack the condiment. Otherwise, the relish is ready to use once it has cooled completely. Transfer the relish to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

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