It's a busy week, what with the back to school rush, and its end of summer urgency, but August, for the southwestern foodie, is all about one thing: HATCH!
I'll be roasting a bushel-full, myself, this week, and I'll stash all of the pretty green bags-full in the freezer, to use year round. In New Mexico and neighboring states, all the markets will be overflowing with the babies-- in stores right now in Central Texas. If you're out of the region, and low on sources for procuring the current culinary darling of the pepper world, you can even order Hatch chiles online.
Hatch chiles, a variety of New Mexico green chile grown in the valleys around the small town of Hatch, New Mexico, are at peak, 5-8 inch, bright green commas, mild, typically, with a heat profile between the mildest bell pepper, and the more fiery jalapeno. Chiles that are left on the vine eventually turn red. Grown where the days are HOT and the nights are cool, they have a unique smoky, sweet flavor that complements the many sweet and savory preparations that boast them, especially popular this time of year.
Hatch are harvested for about four weeks, culminating in the Labor Day, Hatch Chile Festival, in New Mexico. Read more about Hatch Chiles, the Hatch Chile Valley, and the Hatch Chile Festival, here.
Hatch chiles can be used fresh off the vine in any dish, but their unique flavor is especially complemented by roasting. Below, a quick video teaching how to roast any type of pepper, in the oven, on a gas stovetop, and on the grill.
For more delicious dishes featuring Hatch chiles, check out the Pinterest board my friend, Lisa, of Full and Content has curated. You might even see a few familiars, if you've been following along.
Later this week, I'll share the recipe for a Notes From Maggie's Farm favorite-- Roasted Hatch Chile & Smoked Cheddar Blue Corn Grits with Bacon. And if you're a 'pepper-head' like myself, you might also find the following links to be peppered with spicy ideas.
and from deeeeeep in the vault, Some Like It Hot: Roasted Tomato Salsa