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Vincent's Sauce

Every Christmas my uncle brings over a few containers of sauce from Vincent's, one mild and one spicy. As those of you who have tasted it will know, it's got a very different taste profile than traditional tomato sauces. I was wondering if anyone out there knew a general ingredient list for their sauces?

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  1. I used to go to Vincent’s weekly years ago and loved the shrimp with hot sauce. I tried to duplicate it but there was always something missing. I did work with a guy whose mother lived in Little Italy and knew Mrs. Siano. She claimed that she got the recipe from Mrs. Siano and that it was nothing more than tomato paste, olive oil, red pepper and basil simmered for a long time. I was in contact with someone else that was looking for the recipe a few years ago and here were his comments:

    > For any of you that know Vincent's in Little Italy, on the corner of Mott
    and
    > Hester Streets, they make a red sauce for their seafood. I have been
    getting
    > double shrimp with hot sauce, since I was a kid. A close friend of mine
    and I
    > have been trying to figure out exactly how they make the sauce, or better
    yet,
    > find someone that has the recipe. For me, it has been a fun run of trial
    and
    > error, and research... unfortunately for my buddy, it has turned into an
    > obsession. I would appreciate any information, feedback, or better yet,
    the
    > recipe, for Vincent's sauce. So far, we have tried using double the tomato
    > paste that one would use for classic Italian gravy (1 can tomatoes, 4 cans
    > paste, instead of traditional 1:2), also, we have tried adding beef broth
    > (which turned the sauce brown, but gave it a similar flavor). I also feel
    that
    > garlic, lightly sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, but not burned, as well
    as
    > fresh basil, oregano, and chile peppers, wrapped in a cheese cloth and
    simmered
    > in the sauce, then removed, and maybe even possibly add an onion to the
    cheese
    > cloth. I have also been told to try using either chicken broth, or a
    seafood
    > broth in the mix, and one suggestion was to add some espresso coffee to
    it.....
    > suppossedly that was the secret ingredient. In anycase, if there is anyone
    out
    > there, "in the know" that has the recipe, or has duplicated it, it would
    be
    > very much appreciated.

    If you find out any more I would love to know.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hammer5

      The secret is a vinegar pepper chopped up in tiny pieces and fried in the olive oil until it disappears. Its olive oil and tomato paste only simmered for 8 hours. Then you can add red crushed pepper at the end only.

      1. re: rustymon

        The chopped peppers just give it heat not the flavor everyone here is talking about. It's the Tomato Paste that is cooked for hours that give the flavor, maybe the chocolate, anchovies or coffee or a combination of all three. No one knows is the big question.

    2. Tomato paste makes sense now that I think of it---even like a 3:1 ratio of paste to sauce. That would explain the sweetness. Maybe even sundried tomato paste. There's a TON of oil in it--that's gotta come from somewhere and it can't be all olive oil, so maybe figuring out where the oil comes from is step one.

      1. I'll have to try experimenting again. If I come up with anything I'll let you know. I do believe that the oil is all olive oil. If you get anymore info let me know. It seems strange that this recipe is such a mystery.

        1. I think the oil is some olive oil, but when you get it "take out" as it were, there is like a solid inch+ of oil just sitting around on top. My bet is there is some meat cooked in it at some stage. But the oil doesn't taste greasy, like it would if it were animal fat, so then again, it could just be that someone likes to put in a ton of olive oil.

          I do think that in any event, there is an inordinate amount of tomato paste. That must be big thing.

          1. My Sicilan grandmother would make a simliar sauce using what I remember as "stratu" a thick almost brownish black tomato paste which was home made on tables out of doors she cherished it