I did not have school last Friday, so I spent practically the whole day in St. Augustine, doing some of the stuff I enjoy most.
In the morning I stopped by my grandma's (a.k.a. gram gold shoes...named after the metallic gold shoes that she takes a liking to) to visit. She had been almost completely out of Datil pepper sauce, so we had planned to fix up a batch while I was there. (More on where I went afterward is for a later post.)
Datil Pepper sauce is a recipe known by a few Minorcan families in St. Augustine and other parts of Florida and Georgia. These families tend to keep their recipe closely guarded, so as Florida's culture continues to be isolated and destroyed, so does the knowledge of how to make this delicious condiment. Fortunately, I am hell bent on being a Minorcan, so I guess it won't completely die out as long as I am living...And God knows I may really be the only one in my generation who cares [I guess I'll put a whole post about this later.]
Anyway, more about the sauce itself...Each family's recipe tastes a little bit different; some taste sweet as sugar and others will cause every cell in your body to scream "AGGGGGHHHH HOT!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!" Our recipe lies somewhere in the middle, spicy enough for you to get a good kick and to feel it for about a half hour after you finish eating it, but with a nice herbal/sweet type flavor. It can be eaten on pretty much anything except ice cream and cereal, but here are my favorite ways that we Minorcans use them:
- Fried Shrimp. There is nothing like a nice pile of fresh-caught shrimp breaded and fried up to perfection. Mixing the sauce with mayonaisse makes a perfect seafood dip.
- Fried Mullet or Catfish. Use the same mixing technique described above.
- Hamburgers. My favorite burger: Fresh beef (venison will do, too), ketchup, mayonaisse, barbecue sauce, Datil pepper sauce, tomato, lettuce, onion, and cheese. Messy, but the most delicious burger I have ever had.
- Okra. Okra is delicious dipped in the Datil/mayonaisse mix or just plain Datil sauce.
- Fried Chicken.
- Cold or Allergy Remedy. (I guess this isn't really the sauce, but I thought I would share it anyway.) Finely chop up a Datil pepper and spread it on a piece of bread. Eat it, and it will clear up any sinus congestion that you may have. I'm not joking with this one. I have heard stories of a Minorcan doctor that used to prescribe this for a number of ailments...I don't doubt at all that it worked.