At the Collierville Farmers’s Market today, we were talking to a patron about our shared love of spicy food. The hot peppers aren’t in yet, but in preparation for the season here is the official recipe for Manhattan Project Hot Sauce. Like its namesake, the effects of this sauce are difficult to predict, and the ingredients themselves are potentially dangerous*.
Manhattan Project Hot Sauce
“…now I am become Shiva, the destroyer of worlds.”
Prep time: 1 hour or less. Yields enough hot sauce for most needs.
1 lb assorted red hot peppers: cayenne, jalapeño, habañero, etc.
1 quart apple cider vinegar
1 head garlic
2 tablespoons sea salt
Safety equipment (optional, but recommended):
1 pair long rubber gloves
1 long sleeved shirt
1 pair safety glasses
1 dust mask or respirator
Additional equipment needed:
Food processor or heavy-duty blender
Fine sieve or food mill
Large empty bottle (as from a fifth of alcohol)
2 large nonreactive (ceramic or stainless) bowls
One shot of whiskey/other alcohol
Make sure you are working in a clean kitchen, that your sink is empty, and that you have clean counter space. Evacuate children, pets, and pepper-sensitive individuals from the area. Cover all porous surfaces with plastic wrap, and put away all ready-to-eat items such as fruit. Use the toilet and wash hands thoroughly. Put on all personal protective equipment (PPE).
Wash peppers thoroughly. Cut the stems from all the peppers. Do NOT remove seeds. Working in batches, add the peppers to the food processor along with enough cider vinegar to cover, a portion of the garlic (peeled and crushed), and a portion of the sea salt. Blend until thoroughly liquefied, then pour mixture into one of the large bowls. Repeat process until all peppers, garlic, salt, and vinegar are used. Do not inhale vapors. Do not touch your eyes.
Ladle the mixture into the sieve or food mill in small batches and strain into the second bowl. If using a sieve, use a wooden spoon to push as much of the mixture as possible through along with the juice. You will be left with two mixtures: one liquid, one mostly seeds and pepper skin.
Add the shot of alcohol to the empty liquor bottle, cap, and shake thoroughly. Then dispose of the alcohol as you see fit. Using the funnel and ladle, fill the bottle completely with the fresh Manhattan Project liquid. Beware of possible splashes. Do not attempt to pour directly from the bowl. Cap and store away from direct sunlight. This mixture should keep for at least a year. Use in any recipe that calls for hot sauce.
The seed and skin residue is usable as a relish and in certain Chthonian religious rites. Do not touch, inhale, or taunt the residue. Do not look directly at the residue unless you are within a hyperbolic chamber–and even then, remain wary.
IMPORTANT: After capping the bottle, clean up any spills, wash the exterior of the bottle, and decontaminate the area with a household cleaner or a mixture of 1 quart of water and the juice of one lemon. Dispose of PPE and wash hands thoroughly. After cleaning your hands, taste your fingertips to check for pepper residue. Use your creation responsibly.
*We dismiss concerns that a large enough batch of this sauce may set the upper atmosphere on fire.