El Yucateco Salsas Y Condimentos S.A. De C.V – Yucatán, Mexico
El Yucateco Salsas Y Condimentos started as a small family-owned business in Yucatan, Mexico in 1968 (“Yucateco” refers to the Mayan people of the Yucatan peninsula). From the start, El Yucateco’s focus was sauces made from habaneros. Salsa Picante Verde is one of their classic recipes, clocking in at 8910 Scoville Heat Units; it was an award-winner at the 1998 Fiery Food Show, and it is one of the most ubiquitous habanero sauces (and a top-notch one, at that).
Fresh green habaneros are the only peppers used to make Salsa Picante Verde, and the list of food-based ingredients is similarly simple: water, salt, vinegar, garlic, onion powder and spices. It is interesting to note that garlic is not listed as an ingredient on the label, even though the El Yucateco website specifically cites it as part of the recipe, and it is quite clearly present; presumably garlic is included here under the catch-all “spices” (although it is usually listed separately). Salsa Picante Verde uses multiple preservatives commonly encountered in condiments— sodium benzoate, calcium disodium EDTA, and citric acid— and its perfect green color is enhanced by FD&C Yellow #5 and FD&C Blue #1. Xanthan gum is employed as a thickener.
The sample reviewed here came in a 4 fl oz glass bottle, without a shaker-top insert, but different sizes are available (8 fl oz bottle and a 68 fl oz jug that is sold in two-packs). As noted above, this sauce is a beautiful green color, and is uniformly blended with tiny light green, dark green and white specks. It is fairly thick, and pours about like steak sauce— a good match for its heat level, which is not inconsiderable.
The sauce smells exactly like it looks: a mouthwatering blend of garlic, vegetal hot green pepper, and savory notes; this bold aroma is backed by a modest vinegar tang and light chili powder notes. The flavor is similarly pleasing, leading with a nice vinegar bite, followed by a blend of savory/green pepper/garlic/onion. I can’t say enough good things about the flavor; this is a delicious sauce that really compliments Mexican and Tex/Mex food.
Salsa Picante Verde is considerably spicy, about a 5 out of 10. The burn is immediate and bright/tingly, and affects the entire mouth from the lips to the back of the tongue; it cedes its territory slowly, giving up the front of the tongue last. Some gustatory sweating is produced.
This hot sauce is a staple for me, and has been for years. When I sit down at the bar at La Costa, they know to bring me a bottle of it along with my enchiladas and my Negra Modelo. If I had to pick just one habanero sauce to use for the rest of my life, this would be the one.
Ingredients: water, habanero peppers, salt, acetic acid, spices, xanthan gum, citic acid, onion powder, sodium benzoate, FD&C yellow #5, calcium disodium EDTA, FD&C Blue #1