It was only a matter of time. As soon as I saw jarred Peppadew* peppers I should’ve realized that line extensions were sure to follow. And there it was, atop the deli case in the supermarket this afternoon: Peppadew™ Sweet Piquanté Pepper Splash-On Sauce. S spotted it—not only is he credited with introducing me to these juicy little flavor bombs in the first place, he’s also our home’s resident hot sauce fan. I was powerless to resist; everything from the sexy little bottle to the punchy design of the label said Put Me in Your Cart, Now.
I wasn’t intending to use it tonight, but sometimes things just happen in the kitchen, you know? As I was throwing together a fresh bread crumb/mess o’ herbs coating for chicken cutlets, a row of lush ripe tomatoes, red and gold, danced across my line of vision. Perhaps a quick salsa, using some of the leftover chopped herbs, would go nicely with the simple chicken dish. I’d perk it up with the four little Peppadews lounging in the fridge (scuse me: the four little “piquanté peppers”), a squeeze of lime juice, a splash of pomegranate juice, and—wait a minute, hadn’t I just put the absolute perfect ingredient in the pantry? Yes!—a dash (or several) of our new Splash-On Sauce.
Before adding it, I shook a little out onto my finger—I wanted to know exactly what kind of flavor I’d be adding. The first thing to hit my tongue was heat: we’d bought the Hot version, and it definitely was hot. Not unbearable, though, not like those ones that brag they’re going to blast you out the back door and into your neighbor’s swimming pool. More of a soothing kind of hot, if that makes sense. And when that dissolved, it left behind an unmistakable sweetness, just a hint of it. For comparison’s sake I also dripped some Tabasco on my finger—while that started out similarly hot, heat’s just about all you get there. The aftertaste was more of an afterburn. (For what it’s worth, I’ve never been a huge fan of Tabasco added to things after they’re already cooked—I’ll use it within a recipe for heat, but not where I’m hoping to have a distinct flavor boost.)
Both the chicken and the salsa turned out pretty fantastic—we ate every drop. And that Peppadew sauce really did give a nice little zing to the whole meal.
*I’d always thought they were called Pappadew peppers—but it turns out Peppadew is the correct name and a registered trademark to boot—according to their web site, we should never casually say “peppadew peppers”—used as a descriptor, the proper nomenclature is “piquanté pepper”—not that it matters much to me, since they’re so damn yummy.
Herb-Crusted Baked Chicken Breasts
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 T. lemon juice
Olive oil cooking spray
¾ cup fresh bread crumbs [cut the crusts off some leftover bread and grind them in the blender—I used a combo of whole wheat and Polish rye]
3-4 T. fresh herbs, chopped fine [I used chives, lemon thyme, basil, and oregano]
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt (skip this if you’re using kosher chicken)
Put the chicken in a glass (or otherwise non-reactive) bowl, and add the lemon juice. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour. [If you’re making the salsa, now’s a good time to throw it together—see below.]
Preheat the oven to 450. Spray a cookie sheet with the non-stick spray and set aside.
Combine the bread crumbs, herbs, pepper, and salt (if using) in a large, shallow bowl. Pull the chicken breasts from the lemon juice one by one and coat them with the bread crumbs, then place on the prepared cookie sheet. Don’t worry if there are bare patches of chicken showing—you’ll fix that in a minute. When they’re all laid out on the sheet, use your fingers to pat some of the remaining bread crumb mixture onto the chicken, but don’t go too heavy with it; the coating should be fairly light. Spray the tops of the chicken breasts with the cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with Tomato-Peppadew Salsa…
3-4 very ripe tomatoes, color of your choice, seeded and diced small
4-6 Peppadew peppers, diced fine
1 T. fresh basil, chopped
1 T. fresh chives, chopped
Juice of ½ lime
Splash of pomegranate juice [I used Pom brand, the tangerine flavor]
Peppadew Sweet Piquanté Pepper Splash-On Sauce, to taste [I used about a dozen good shakes of the bottle]
Salt & pepper
Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl and let sit for at least ½ an hour.