Q&A: Sweet Habanero Splash

You’ve got questions? I’ve got answers. Specifically, answers to your questions and/or complaints about the “Sweet Habanero Splash” sauce. Apparently, the recipe is causing some agitation amongst the masses.

What’s the deal with having to roast the garlic?

The deal is that raw garlic – especially when it gets around acidic components – has a sharp-verging-on-bitter flavour. It just doesn’t work here, and yes, you can tell the difference. The roasted garlic is a base layer of earthy goodness, it ties the other flavours together and mellows the whole thing. And really, how hard is it to throw some cloves in some foil toss the whole mess in the oven?

Aren’t you supposed to take the seeds out of hot peppers?

I guess you could, if you were making baby food or perhaps some nice gruel. This is a hot sauce, and you want all of the heat that the peppers have to offer. The whole idea here is a balance of searing spice and warm fruitiness. Balance. As in two sides. Take away one side, and there is no balance.

Sweet Potato? Really?

Yep. It reinforces the sweetness of the peppers, it adds some excellent colour, and it provides the texture that lets you make the sauce as thick or thin as you want at the end. If you really have a problem with sweet potatoes, you could use carrot to the same general effect, but I don’t think either the colour or the taste would be as good.

How can anyone possibly taste this to tell if it needs more salt?

By bucking up and being a man, that’s how. Or a woman if that is how your chromosomes happen to rock. You can do it, trust me. Yes, it’s hot. Flaming hot. Crazy molten hot. But it’s not deathly hot, and you will survive. If you need to buffer it somehow, put a dab on an unsalted tortilla chip or cracker and taste it that way. And have a beer ready to go afterwards. Ready? Go.

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