Marie Sharp’s habanero pepper sauces are an experience. They’re habaneros, carrots, and onions by weight, with lime, vinegar, garlic, and salt to finish them off. That’s it.
And I wasn’t at all sure what to make of it the first time I tasted it. It hits hard, but it’s difficult to establish gustatory context for it. A bit salty? A bit sour? This is strong, but is it pleasant?
Yes, it’s pleasant. It erupts into a glorious savory explosion that evokes all of its components, but it’s definitely a “whole is more than the sum of its parts” phenomenon. It’s a complex, layered taste that may not have any real predecessor in your experiences, but for which you’ll quickly think up uses. I enjoy it on Mexican food and as a dip for raw vegetables. This sauce, sharp cheddar, and grilled chicken make an incredible quesadilla. I probably use the largest amount filling up Tostitos Baked Scoops with it.
The Marie Sharp’s line includes several of these sauces, varying only in their heat level. I’ve settled on Fiery Hot, which is one click above Hot and one below something called Belizean Heat. I’m sure I could handle that one, but the Fiery Hot is such a satisfying balance of flavor and heat that it’s difficult for me to imagine having a better experience.
The Fiery Hot is sneaky. It’s so delicious, it lulls you into complacence. You fill up a Scoop…mmm. You fill up another Scoop…mmm. It’s easy to do that without registering that the heat is compounding, and by the time you’re paying attention, you’re roasting. It’s a good, rosy burn that I suppose you could knock down with dairy, but what’s the fun in that? Take a sip of beer instead and relish about three seconds of relief before the glorious rise returns. It’s about ten minutes all the way back down the mountain.
Marie Sharp’s Habanero is another sauce that I anticipate always having in stock.