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Men love to brag about how much heat they can handle, whether that means “atomic” chicken wings or ordering the extra hot meal at Nando’s (warning: for serious chilli lovers). But truly spectacular spicy food doesn’t sacrifice other sensations to a pyromaniac palate. Too much heat can diminish your ability to taste, but just the right amount of heat can heighten your awareness of other flavors. That’s why a balance of chillies’ pungency with creamy butter, tangy lime, or sweet brown sugar makes for a more satisfying eating experience than one based on pain alone. And don’t forget one of the cardinal rules of spicy food – beer is the new wine.
HOT AND CREAMY DRESSING
To spice up a simple buttermilk dressing, whisk buttermilk with a touch of mayo, a dash of cider vinegar, lemon juice, finely minced shallot, chopped dill and a hit of hot sauce. Try it on a roast chicken salad.
Slow-cook some steel-cut oats and finish them with a little butter, milk and fresh thyme leaves. Top the cereal with a fried egg – soft yolk, a little lacy at the edge – and season it with a generous shake of hot sauce.