07/02/2012 06:33 pm ET | Updated Sep 01, 2012

Easy Hot Sauce For 4th Of July Celebrations

By Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Host, The Splendid Table®, American Public Media's national food show and co-author of The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories and Opinions and the new How to Eat Weekends. Ask questions and find Lynne, recipes and station listings at, or 800-537-5252.

Copyright 2012 Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Dear Lynne,

Fourth of July is going to be our chile feast. I need a hot sauce to knock my boyfriend's socks off. But please make it easy.

Lacy in Tahoe

Dear Lacy,

This dipping sauce is as simple as it gets. Nippy and bright, Hot Shot Sauce is especially fine with sweet things like grilled yams, onions, corn, ripe melon, spring rolls and BBQ. Put some in mayonnaise, over fish, on meats and in stir fries. You get the idea.

You need tasty fresh chilies (sidestep Habaneros and Scotch Bonnets as they blast taste buds into numbness), cider vinegar, salt, a blender and a glass jar washed in very hot water. For safe preserving select a cider vinegar with at least 5% acidity. Higher is even better. Store the sauce in the refrigerator for no more than a week. Its brightness fades after that.

Hot Shot Dipping Sauce

15 minutes prep time, at least 8 hours refrigerator time
Makes about 1-1/2 cups and keeps a week in the refrigerator.

We dip grilled meats and vegetables into this at the table, the vinegar goes into sauces, livens up gazpacho and sparks drinks.

Also fresh peach or melon chunks practically radiate goodness when you dip them in the chile vinegar and then roll them in sugar. Put them out on picks.

*2 fresh hot Mirasol, Manzana, or Cayenne chilies (going from medium hot to hot) *2 fresh Serrano chilies 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1 teaspoon sugar 1 clove garlic Cider vinegar to cover (about 1-1/4 cups)

  1. Wearing plastic gloves, cut stems away from chilies. Coarsely chop them. Put them in a blender, seeds and all.

  • Add the salt, sugar, garlic and vinegar to cover by about 1/4-inch. Blend until pureed. Pour into the clean jar, adding another 1 inch of vinegar. Marinate for 8 hours before using.
  • Use the sauce as is, or strain it and use only the liquid.

    *Caution: Chilies sting. Handle them with care. When working with chilies wear plastic gloves, and wash hands and utensils with hot soapy water. Never touch your face or any part of your body after you've handled chilies.