If you're a regular Mercantile customer, you probably know Mado's Pepper Sauce and it's likely you've heard one of us tell you it's beautiful Toronto origin story: for years Erin Dowse of the Old York Tavern on lower Niagara St. had been buying it by the bucket-load from a Dominican-Canadian named Elizabeth Madonis who made it in her bathtub in Ajax. As word spread and demand grew, Elizabeth had trouble keeping up with the orders so Erin bought the rights to the recipe and commercialized the operation. It has become a legendary condiment, made according to the original recipe with pumpkin, papaya, scotch bonnets and cider vinegar for the perfect balance of sweet and hot and tart and umami.
And we're not the only enthusiasts. People come from various parts of town knowing we're a source for this beloved and versatile local favourite. And those who love it love it a lot - never wanting to be down more than a bottle and a half in the pantry and fridge. We've been saying for ages that if Erin wanted to take Mado's global, it could easily hold its own with HP and Sriracha and the rest of them.
While most producers struggle to get a minute with the big distributors and grocery chains, lately they've been knocking on Erin's door and Mado's is poised to get a whole new profile. Just remember, you knew Mado's when you could only get it here and a handful of other shops around town.
So in celebration of the success of Mado's so far and the success yet to come, here's a recipe for something we've been doing with it lately:
Mado's Glazed Chicken Thighs
6-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 ounces Mado's Pepper Sauce, divided
1/2 cup yogurt
2 Tbsp honey or sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
flaked salt to finish
Mix the yogurt and half of the Mado's in a bowl and toss in the chicken thighs to coat. Marinate in the fridge for an hour or two - longer if you like.
In a small sauce pan, combine the rest of the Mado's with the honey or sugar, vinegar and salt and simmer until it reduces substantially. You're done when it starts to look like a thick glaze.
Take the thighs out of the marinade mixture and shake off any excess. Lay them on foil or Silpat in a baking sheet and paint with the glaze mixture.
Put the tray on the top shelf of the oven under a hot broiler (or on the hot part of the BBQ grill if you're outdoors) and cook for 5 minutes per side, until you see the sugar in the glaze start to bubble.
Top with a few flakes of Maldon salt and maybe some chopped parsley or coriander and serve with rice and veg or a crispy fruity salad and you are good to go.
Long Live Mado's!