I love vinegar. In fact, it is the one pantry staple I would have the hardest time living without. Much to my girlfriend’s chagrin, I do my best to sneak it into every dish I can get away with, even those that might not call for the addition. Tangy and lively, vinegar, like lemon, has the ability to brighten up almost any flat-tasting dish. Though it must be used sparingly, I personally think a splash or two of vinegar to complete a dish goes a long way in enhancing flavors. Recently I had a friend over for dinner; while digging through my cupboards, I was able to unearth ten different varieties of vinegar. I have a reputation among my friends as being a bit food obsessed, and my vinegar collection only served to confirm this belief, or so said my friend’s baffled expression.
“Do you actually use all of those?” He asked
Yes, yes in fact I do. From the Spanish sherry variety and asian rice wine to Italy’s famed balsamic, all these vinegars play very specific roles in helping to make the dishes I cook that much more authentic to their place of origin. Today I’m featuring a very simple recipe for the southern table staple, Pepper Vinegar. While it’s a great condiment for almost anything, it’s especially good splashed on pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, eggs, and anything else that needs a little pick-me-up.
Inspired by The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
While the Lee Brothers use white wine vinegar in their recipe, I prefer the inherent sweetness of cider vinegar from the Philo Apple Farm. In addition, I used fresh cayenne chilies from Happy Quail Farms in place of serranos, though almost any chile should work.
- 1 cup white wine or cider vinegar
- 2 Thai, serrano, or bird’s eye chiles, fresh or dried
1. With a funnel, pour the vinegar into a cruet.
2. Add the chiles and use a chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon to submerge them, if necessary.
3. Cap the cruet and place it in the refrigerator. The vinegar will be well infused in 24 hours and will keep for months in the refrigerator.
Makes as much as your cruet can hold