Trader Joe’s Just Released My Favorite New (Spicy!) Condiment

published Aug 28, 2019
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Chili condiments are, well, kinda hot right now. From chili crisp and spicy honey, to pickled peppers and and homemade sauces, we can’t get enough of the hot stuff. Of course, Trader Joe’s is in on the trend. 

I recently spied this Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce on the New Items shelf. Did I already have a jar of Italian Calabrian chilis taking up space on my shelf at home? Yep. But Joe and his new products are irresistible. Joe knows what I want. And for $3, I gave in and tossed a jar into my cart.

I am happy to report that I have zero regrets. This spicy pepper relish is unlike any of the other bottles and jars that crowd my refrigerator door.  The ingredient list is a pretty straightforward combination of crushed Calabrian chili peppers, sunflower and olive oils, dried basil, salt, and ascorbic and citric acids. But unlike most of the sauces I already own, this one is fermented. Many commercial brands of hot sauces rely on a vinegar base, resulting in a pretty one-note, puckery taste. Fermented foods, however, develop their flavor over time as the sugars break down into acid. This chili paste is certainly spicy, but with a prominent fruity pepper flavor and a funky umami brought out from the fermentation process. It’s not just hot, it’s tasty. This pepper sauce is fire.

Trader Joe’s Italian Bomba is great anywhere you’d normally sprinkle on those ubiquitous pizza parlor chili flakes. So, at home on top of a slice of pepperoni or twirled into spaghetti … but that’s just the beginning. It’s dreamy with eggs, and perfect on a cheese plate. Once the weather cools down, I’ll be dolloping it into my soups and spooning it over mac and cheese.

It’s excellent used as a last-minute addition like any other hot sauce. It’s also a flavor-packed ingredient for busy weeknight cooking. Swirl the chilis together with yogurt or mayonnaise for a dip for fat potato wedges or a spread for sandwiches. Add it to a marinade to add a kick to chicken or pork chops. Stir a spoonful of it into softened butter to top a piece of fish, or stuff it into a biscuit with a drizzle of honey. Or, my favorite, slather the chili-butter mash onto steamy cobs of corn and shower them all with grated Parmesan. A quick and easy Italian spin on elote, if you will.