Texan David Pace had been selling 58 different varieties of jam, jellies, and sauces from the back of his liquor store in the 1940s when he came up with a recipe for a thick and spicy tomato-based sauce he dubbed "Picante." When sales of David's new sauce took off, he concentrated all his efforts on marketing his all-natural, preservative-free product, and designed the sauces famous hourglass-shaped jar (to keep it from tipping over). Now America's number one Mexican hot sauce brand, Pace Foods, makes it known that it still uses only fresh jalapeno peppers in the sauces, rather than the brined, less flavorful jalapenos—like those canned nacho slices. Each year all the fresh jalapenos used by the company weigh in at around 30 million pounds, and the nation gobbles up around 120 million pounds of the spicy sauces. Here's a simple recipe to make a kitchen copy of the medium heat-level Pace Picante Sauce, which was the first variety David created. The mild and hot versions were added in 1981, and you'll find clones for those at the bottom of the recipe in Tidbits.
Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.
This recipe is available in
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup chopped Spanish onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh jalapeno peppers, with seeds (3 to 4 peppers)
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried minced onion
- Do This
1. Combine a 6-ounce can of tomato paste with 2 cups of water and whisk to combine. This is your tomato puree. Add tomato puree and all other ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thick.
3. When cool, bottle in 16-ounce jar and refrigerate overnight.
Makes 2 cups (16 oz.).
Tidbits: For the mild version of the salsa, reduce the amount of fresh jalapenos to 2 rounded tablespoons (2 to 3 peppers).
For the hot variety, increase the amount of jalapenos to 1/3 cup (4 to 5 peppers).
I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker
For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.