We are no strangers to hot sauce here at Tasting Table: There's always an array of options in our staff fridge for the editors to douse their lunches with. However, this all changed when we tested this fermented chile vinegar. The spicy kick from the Fresnos is tamed by the vinegary tang that comes along with fermentation. Put a few sprinkles on your eggs or, yes, drizzle it on your salad for a punchier lunch.
This recipe takes a while, so don't forget to set a reminder. You want to ferment your chiles and garlic for a month before puréeing with vinegar. The garlic cloves will turn blue, but that's OK—it's all part of the fermentation process. After pureeing, be sure to shake the mixture every day for another week to emulsify it into a smooth sauce.
To learn more, read "Daniel Holzman's Secret Weapon."
Pickled Fresno Chile Vinegar
Recipe adapted from Daniel Holzman, The Meatball Shop, New York, NY
Yield: 3 cups
Prep Time: 5 weeks
Cook Time: N/A
Total Time: 5 weeks
2 cups boiling water
½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons, white distilled vinegar, divided
6 tablespoons salt, divided
8 ounces (7 each) Fresno chiles
5 garlic cloves
1. In a plastic quart container, combine the boiling water, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the salt. Stir until dissolved and then let cool. Once cool, add the chiles and the garlic, and loosely cover with the lid, making sure the chiles are completely submerged. Let ferment at room temperature for 4 weeks.
2. Once fermented, drain the chiles and garlic, reserving ½ cup of the pickling liquid. Transfer the chiles, garlic and reserved pickling liquid to a blender with the remaining ½ cup of vinegar and ¼ cup of salt. Blend until smooth. Return to the plastic container and seal. Let sit at room temperature for 1 week, shaking every day until homogenous.
3. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, using as desired.