I’m a little out of my element right now because this weekend, I was walking around outside with only a sweater on and Monday morning, I watched the snow blanket our backyard. And that same afternoon, the sun came up and melted all the snow. So now, I’m confused about whether I should be pulling the cover off the grill, or retreating inside and cranking up the oven to make some comfort food.
But first things first. I have a relevant for all of the seasons secret sauce. This sauce is some major awesome-sauce. This is an all-purpose, back pocket sauce kinda situation happening right here. It’s not so much a secret sauce anymore because it’s so good that I’m all about the sharing. You can use it as a sauce itself (which I do often), as a marinade (chicken please), and as a finish touch to most proteins- I’m lookin’ atchu, fish tacos. This fresno chili sauce has been in the works for a quite a while now, first making its appearance at the Thanksgiving table of all places. That’s also a story for another time.
All-purpose fresno chili sauce is exactly what the name suggests. It’s made from bright red, raw fresno chili peppers that you can find in most stores. it’s a peri-peri sauce meets the accessible ingredients factor type situation. It has a distinct heat but not so much that it overwhelms those who prefer the flavor of heat and not the spice. That being said, you can also use other kinds of peppers to vary the heat and flavor. If you want it hotter, try using ghost pepper or bird’s eye chili peppers (the base of peri-peri sauce) or go wild with those small thai chili peppers. Or for a milder taste, try a de-seeded jalapeno. The key is to make sure the peppers are red because that’s what gives the sauce its orangey hue. Personally, I think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world but I’ve always been a little on the weird side.
I like my sauce on the hotter side so I usually end up putting 2-3 chili peppers in the blender, without removing the seeds. It may seem like a lot but if you’re using it as a marinade, the heat in the sauce will become pretty mild once it’s on chicken/fish. I usually use this on chicken and like to brush some more on after pulling the chicken out of oven, while it’s still hot, to bounce back some of the spice. One of my favorite things about this sauce is that it’s a one and done type of sauce. It doesn’t need stovetop time. Throwing everything in a blender and pureeing until smooth is exactly my type of sauce with minimal effort and big results.
I was actually going to make this a two for one recipe kind of deal but this sauce is so good that it deserves it’s own post. I ended up using the fresno chili sauce as a marinade on bone-in chicken thighs when I first made it, saving half of it to brush on the chicken at the very end. I also served the sauce as a condiment and it was a huge hit alongside the turkey. This recipe makes about 1 full cup of sauce. I usually marinate 6-8 bone-in thighs in about half of the sauce and keep the rest for later. I like to keep it on hand because, it is after all, my all-purpose sauce.
Uses for this sauce:
√ marinade for your protein of choice to be thrown on the grill.
√ over your breakfast (or dinner) eggs. All day. Everyday.
√ chicken/tuna/tofu salad instead of the mayo (someone make some stat and report back!)
√ as a dip for dem chips, standing at the counter, after the kids go to bed. Is that even acceptable? Asking for a friend…
√ toss your wings here during football season. Save me some, kthxbye.
- 2–4 red fresno chili peppers, stems removed (deseeded for mild)
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4–6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/4 cup warm water
- Blend all the ingredients in a blender, until the sauce is completely smooth. Add additional water, 1 tbsp sat a time, for a thinner sauce.
- Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid, in the fridge, for 2-3 weeks.