Thursday, February 08, 2007

Minorcan Datil Pepper Sauce

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.


Paintsmh said...

You florida peoples are offically no longer allowed to talk about food, in any form. My mouth is watering. Darn it! lol

pissed off patricia said...

Where can I obtain some of this sauce? Fried shrimp is one of my all time favorite foods along with fried catfish. I would love to taste the sauce mixed with mayonaise as you describe. And thank you for the added information about what you were cooking the other day.

I hope you are feeling better. It's a bummer being sick, and especially on a weekend.

Hurricane Teen said...

paint - So was mine :-0!

pat - I'm feeling much better, thanks. I meant to put this in the post, but you can get some a's almost the exact same recipe that my grandma and I comes from the same family.

SophieMae said...

Glad you're feeling better! I'll BET the Datil pepper cure works! Yep, Datil do it. 8-] I'm not as big a hot stuff fan as the guys, but I might try the Datil-mayo next time we have fish or shrimp or...

Floridacracker said...

Chris Way who developed the Dat'l Doit brand and I went to high school together. He was a year older and after cooking at Barnacle Bills, had the genius to actually market the very thing we all took for granted.
It worked out pretty well for him.

Hurricane Teen said...

sophie - It's very mild when mixed with mayonaisse. I think you will like it.

FC - Yeah, he sure did make it, didn't he? Do you happen to know Matthew McQuaig? He is yet another one of my cousins (npt biological but by 2nd marriage,) and he runs Minorcan Datil, which is Mr. Way's biggest competitor...Matthew might be a bit younger, though.

pissed off patricia said...

Thanks HT
I'll check out that website right now. Wish me luck. Swooosh I'm off!

pissed off patricia said...

And swoosh, I'm back. One bottle will be coming my way soon. Thank you so much for the help. Now I guess we better stock up on liquids just in case it's hotter than we expect. Just kidding. I can't wait to try the mayo mix with fried shrimp.

Hurricane Teen said...

pissed off pat - You would need a fire truck if you tried some of the other Minorcan recipes.

SophieMae said...

Hey, how's it goin'? 8-]

Hurricane Teen said...

sophie - Hangin in there. I should have a post for yall early tomorrow morning. I'm being lazy.

Philip Berg - Long Valley, NJ said...

Yankee Needs Help

Here's the deal. Some years ago my family and I visited historic Old St Augustine. We ate dinner at a large and quite excellent restaurant (I believe that it was named for a local US highway or interstate) on a busy corner not far from the remnants of the Old Fort. While enjoying a memorable meal there, I was introduced to the most ambrosiac hot sauce ever to grace my taste buds. Of course, it was a datil hot sauce.

Alas, the last sunset-tinged drops of that magical mystery mix is gone and I am hoping that you might be the source of our salvation by leading us back to the fount from which it might, once again, provide the joys of that particular peppery libation to my family and friends. In other words, I am really hopeful that you can tell me whether this brand of datil sauce is still proferred and who I would need to contact in order to replenish our supply.

The label reads "Old St. Augustine"
at its top. Below that is a picture of a plump orange datil pepper upon which the words "Datil Pepper Sauce" appear. Below that in much smaller print it says:
"Ole Minorcan Recipe"
"Hottern Hell Seasoning"

On the side of the bottle under the Nutrition Facts it reads:
Bottled for:
Old St. Augustine Village
St.Augustine, Florida

That website provided no help at all in terms of how to procure more of this particular sauce. I do intend to order a slew of the enticing products offered by the co. you endorse on this site, however we really savored the sauce described herein and,if it's still available, we'd love to order more of it as well.

I have great admiration for your passionate love of and allegiance to your cultural and geographic roots. Your commitment to the preservation and protection of both of those treasures is a rare and commendable trait. Don't ever let that fire burn out!

Regards and Respects

lms said...

Love Datil! We were just there and ran out already. We will have to order some more. Very fond of Hellish Relish.

Love St Augustine and the History of the Beautiful City!

cheryl capo said...

It's encouraging to know there are younger Menorcan descendants taking pride in our heritage. I am an 8th generation Capo(probably some Pacetti mixed in there somewhere).

I'm racking my brain trying to find a substitute for datil pepper in a pilau I'm making this weekend along with fromajadis. I'm 6 hours away from my parents home and St. Augustine as I cannot really just run down the road to the nearest produce stand or my father's backyard for a handful of datils. I have not had the fortune to locate anything yet in my local specialty stores.

Rick Mallett said...

I grew up around St Augustine and graduated from SAHS.I make this very same sauce and have been growing datil peppers since I was a teenager.Have a mess of bushes again this year.I am now living in Baker county and I am about to make my second batch of sauce since everyone robbed me of the first batch.I grew up around the Solanos,Pacettis,Manucy,etc.

DFree said...

I have been growing datil peppers in Lincolnton, NC for the past five years. They do well here, maturing late. I just picked a bag full of the mature golden pods, hoping to make a batch of relish. Before, I have always made datil sauce. The relish recipe really sounds good.

I grew up in St. Augustine, graduating in the first class at St. Augustine High; before it was Ketterlinus. Had a number of good Minorcan friends in my class. Didn't learn about datils until I was in NC.

bdclary said...

Better late than never?

@Philip: The hot sauce I think you're referring to is now under the "Taste of St Augusitne" brand and can be ordered online.

I recognized this since their Snakebite sauce is my favorite.

Hope this helps,

candace said...

hi im candace i know the matthew mcquaig you are asking about in one of your me at

Dixon Free said...

I live in a small town in North Carolina. Grew up in St. Augustine, way back in the Stone Age. My family and I love datil pepper sauce and relish. I enjoy adding it to my mayo based sauce I mix up every time I have shrimp or fish. I am growing my own datil pepper plants; both hot and sweet. The word is spreading throughout our little town. Others are asking for plants, seeds, etc. Our growing season is much shorter than in St. Augustine, so the seeds have to be started quite early in the Spring. I am now getting enough of the hot and sweet datils to make enough sauce for the winter, and to share with others. It is a good thing! May the good Lord bless the Minorcans for bringing over the seeds. JDF

JaxPhotoGirl said...

Love your blog! I found it when I was looking for datil pepper recipes... I had a bumper crop this year. I grew up in the Jacksonville Beach and Palm Valley area, so datil pepper jelly and hot sauce were always around... I just took them for granted until I got older and it was harder to find them as the old folks passed on. Thanks for reviving so many good food memories for me. I'm making a pot of chicken pilau with datil peppers in it this week, and I think I'll dig out my old, OLD cast iron skillet for some sweet yellow corn bread, too!

Roy said...

I came upon your blog while searching for a datil pepper recipe. At 67 I'm old enough to be your grandfather. I was born and raised in Miami. Both my parents were born in Jacksonville. My father's earliest ancester came from Spain to St. Augustine in 1595. I am on that side of the family a descendant of Ignacious Ortega. Our Spanish and Minorcan ancestry was lost to us until my second cousin researced our histroy for his master's thesis.
Just before or about the time you were born Iwas the first manager of the Musicland store in the St. Augustine Mall. I did well and got promoted to Plantation. While I was there I connected with Linda Coley (rest her soul) and was introduced to long lost relatives in the Braddock and Pouncy families.
I live in Tallahassee and have gotten interested in cultivating datil peppers and making sauce for my family's enjoyment. I would like to make several sauces from various recipes. Would appreciate any help you cangive.

Anonymous said...

You are about the only person other than my wonderful daughterinlove and now our family who knows about mixing datil pepper sauce with mayo. Before that wonderful gal became a permanent member of our family, she brought her own bottle of datil pepper sauce when I was doing a low country shrimp boil. I watched in amazement as she mixed some into mayo for her dipping sauce. Of course, we all had to try it and became immediately addicted to this wonderful creation! So now I have not only a wonderful daughter-in-love, but a great addition to my table when I cook seafood!

Anonymous said...

You are about the only person other than my wonderful daughterinlove and now our family who knows about mixing datil pepper sauce with mayo. Before that wonderful gal became a permanent member of our family, she brought her own bottle of datil pepper sauce when I was doing a low country shrimp boil. I watched in amazement as she mixed some into mayo for her dipping sauce. Of course, we all had to try it and became immediately addicted to this wonderful creation! So now I have not only a wonderful daughter-in-love, but a great addition to my table when I cook seafood!

Anonymous said...

Have been enjoying making and eating Datil pepper sauce for a lot of years.Learned this from my mother(Gertrude Masters) Bless her heart.Her recipe beats any and I mean ANY other sauce I have ever eaten.

Anonymous said...

How can we get this wonderful recipe?