One of the few times Jedd and I have squawked at each other in the kitchen, was the first time I made pesto.
I refused to put in a certain ingredient, because I just really don’t like it.
“Launie, you can’t make pesto without garlic.”
“Well, I’m going to.”
“Pesto needs garlic.”
“No it doesn’t.”
“Yes it does! It’s one of the rules.”
“It’s going to taste wrong.”
“Well, if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it. You can make your own batch. We have plenty of basil to play with. But this is what I’m having for dinner. Garlic-less pesto with linguine.”
And we both loved it. Without the garlic, the basil had a chance to really shine along with the parmesan and nuts.
Fast forward many years, and I tasted sriracha for the first time. I loved the heat – but I bet that you can guess what I didn’t love about it.
It was filled with garlic, which is the Newman to my Seinfeld.
So, I decided to make my own using shallots instead. A perfectly reasonable substitute in my mind because shallots, are garlic’s nicer cousin. I realize, however, that I’m one of the few people in the world who has this particular food phobia. So please feel free to substitute in garlic or even do a shallot/garlic combination.
This sauce is spicy, but it’s not a psycho killer heat. You don’t need to try it on a dare. Just try some alongside grilled chicken or steak. Jedd loves it on eggs and I’ve been known to try some on a sandwich. And it makes the best bloody mary you can imagine. So, give it a shot, even if you love garlic.
Green Garlic-less Sriracha-type Sauce
¼ lb of green or red jalapenos (Pick the color jalapeno that you’d like the finished sauce to be. I like green, so I went with green jalapenos.)
¼ lb of serrano peppers
3 red or orange mini-bell peppers, or 1 small red or orange pepper
1 large shallot
½ cup of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey
1½ teaspoons of kosher salt
Use rubber gloves to handle the peppers – it’s just easier that way. If you don’t have gloves or don’t want to use them, make sure to wash your hands really well after slicing up those spicy morsels. Slice the peppers in half, and remove the seeds and membranes. Place them in a food processor with a metal blade. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.
Pour the sauce into a small pan and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the sauce cool and store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Makes 1 cup.
Photos by Launie Kettler