I don't know why it took this long, but today, for the first time, I created my own hot sauce.
I've been a fanatic for Melinda's habanero sauce (especially the reserve and the XXXX) for years now. To me, the ideal hot sauce is just like the Figueroa brothers' (makers of "Melinda's"): the heat is esophageal, rather than lingual, dental, nasal, or guttural (okay, frankly, there's some guttural heat as well), and the sauce itself is not just about welt-raising, pain-inducing scorching. It has a delicate balance of flavor, for having the amount of Scoville units it punches.
Theirs is a habanero sauce, and I find I definitely prefer them. But since we're growing serrano chiles, I made a hot sauce from our first batch of those.
(There's a story behind my affection for serranos. I first grew them by accident, as an unlabeled pepper, in Pittsburgh. The plant doesn't look like most pepper plants, and I was surprised to find it fruited at all. The fruits were short, slightly thicker than crayons, about 2 inches long, and when I casually bit into one from a day's harvest one languid Pittsburgh summer night, I instantly dubbed the unknown beasties "Little Green Hot Fuckers." And so they remain.)
So, today's sauce:
11 serrano chiles (stemmed, but with seeds remaining)
1 large tomato
1/2 a medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
All of the above wrapped in foil and roasted for about 20 minutes at 375˚.
Tossed in a blender with:
kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste
about 1/2 tsp honey
about 1 tsp double-strength tomato paste
juice of a lime
a tsp or so of white wine vinegar
It's decent. It's hot, but not as hot as I'd like, and doesn't quite have the balance of taste I want. It's still a good first attempt, and promising enough to lead me to think I'll be pursuing this venture.