After graduating from college I moved to the amazing city of San Rafael, 20 miles north of San Francisco. San Rafael reminded me a lot of San Luis Obispo (where I did my undergrad): local shops, a walkable downtown with a weekly farmers market, and a plethora of delicious restaurants. Combined with having a real job, I was ready to take advantage of all the great food the town had to offer.
I moved in on a Friday night, and when the hard work was over, I was hungry and ready to explore. It was late, and not much was open, but I ended up making my way to what would become one of my favorite restaurants anywhere, Sol Food. As my first experience in San Rafael, Sol Food ruined other Marin restaurants for me. Their Puerto Rican fare draws a line out the door of their main location every single day, but is 100% worth the wait. The food deserves its own post, and will get that, but for today, I wanted to talk about their secret weapon, the pique. The orange liquid in bottles on every table is a Puerto Rican hot sauce, and Sol Food’s is vinegary, garlicky, and spicy to perfection. We have spent hours trying to make a version that could compare. Countless bottles of vinegar and cloves of garlic were sacrificed in this process, but we love what we came up with. It goes on any salad, or any side of rice or beans…..or anything at all, really. This is spicy!! Adjust the peppers accordingly to figure out what you like.
1 to 3 habenero peppers (go with 3 if you like spicy)
1 red fresno pepper
½ serrano pepper
4 to 5 cloves of garlic
6 teaspoons kosher salt
- In a food processor, combine the peppers, garlic and aprox. 1 cup of white vinegar. Pulse until well blended.
- Transfer mixture to a small sauce pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Carefully pour the pepper vinegar mixture into a 16 ounce container.
- Add salt, ¼ cup of water, and fill remaining space with vinegar (leave some space for air at the top, to make mixture easier to mix).
- Let the mixture sit at least 24 hours at room temperature.
I like buying 16 ounce bottles with either screw tops or corked which makes it easy to shake and then pour! Red fresno peppers are also called red jalapeños. This sauce gets more delicious the longer it sits.