Few people have ever heard of the Mascarenes, and these islands are more known by their individual names: Réunion, Mauritius, and Ródrigues. They are a departement of France and lie hundred of miles east of Madagascar, hundreds of miles away from each other, and although they vary greatly in geography, culture, and religion, they have one great thing in common: a love of chile peppers. On all three islands, chiles of every size and heat level are lovingly grown and added to a cuisines that can generically be called Creole. Rebecca Chastenet de Gry, one of my writers, collected this recipe for me on Réunion Island. She wrote: "Alter the heat in this extremely hot salsa by changing the chiles used. Traditionally the smaller piquin or bird's eye chiles are the types preferred, but milder ones, such as red serranos, can be used." Serve it--easy does it--over clams, other shellfish, or grilled fish fillets.
The famous food writer M. F. K. Fisher described this sauce as follows: “A peppery concoction suited to the taste of bouillabaisse, served separately from the soup to be ladled in at the discretion of the individual diner.”
From the Netherlands Antilles' island of Saba comes this simple, steeped hot sauce that graces seafood dishes or simple rice. Malt vinegar, made from malted barley, is the secret taste ingredient. Because of the vinegar, this sauce can be kept for a month or so in the refrigerator.
This recipe is from Giuliano Bugialli as profiled by Nancy Gerlach, who met him in Rome. She commented: “This in an all-purpose sauce that can be used on a variety of pastas. To really 'enrage' the sauce, replace the crushed New Mexican chile with chiltepíns or piquin chiles.”
From the Sabine town of Amatrice comes this simple but great pasta sauce. Traditionally, it is served over bucatini, a spaghetti-like pasta that has a hole in it, like a straw. It is then sprinkled with grated pecorino romano cheese.
This diabolically hot sauce is also called pasta de chiltepín (chiltepín paste). It is used in soups and stews and to fire up machaca, eggs, tacos, tostadas, and beans. This is the exact recipe prepared in the home of my friend, Josefina Durán, in Cumpas, Sonora. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
This is the sauce that commonly is bottled in liquor bottles and sold in the mercados and at roadside stands in central and northern Mexico. It is sprinkled over nearly any snack food, from tacos to tostadas.
Here is a standard Spanish hot sauce would probably be prepared with the small, hot guindilla (“little cherry”) chiles. Serve this tasty sauce over steamed vegetables, roasted meats, or fish prepared by any method.
There are many variations on this Creole sauce from Argentina, but this is my favorite. It is served with grilled, roasted, or barbecued meats, especially matambre. Variation: Add 1 bell pepper and 1 jalapeño, both seeded and minced.
This is a basic but classic Latin American salsa recipe collected in Ecuador. Although this recipe calls for the use of an electric blender, one can follow the traditional method of using a mortar and pestle. Ecuadorians are very fond of putting beans in their salsa. The most popular beans are the lupini, which are large white beans about the size of lima beans. Just add the cooked beans directly to the salsa. Use this salsa as a dip for chips or as a topping for grilled meats.