It’s Hatch Chile Season

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

We always return from our Special Fork hiatus in the middle of the glorious Hatch Chile season. It’s that period between August and September when our supermarkets abound with these exquisite chiles grown only in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico.

Hatch Chiles have a meaty flesh and mild to medium heat. To remove the tough skin easily, the chiles are first blistered black by roasting them over an open flame on the stove, or on a barbecue grill or broiler.

Best of all is to have the chiles roasted in a rotating metal cage over a gas burner, which some stores, such as Molly Stone’s Markets in the San Francisco Bay Area, will do for you. The smell of roasting chiles is utterly heavenly.

For the past few years, I’ve received a complimentary supply of Hatch Chiles from Molly Stone’s for recipe testing and I’ve gone from being totally unaware of the chile to becoming a devotee, eagerly anticipating the season. Like anything else, being able to taste a food product and having some to experiment with is the best way to culinary discovery.

If you are new to Hatch Chiles, check my previous post for selection, handling and storage information.

Again this year, I was among the Bay Area bloggers invited to receive Hatch Chiles from Molly Stone’s. Here’s a simple way I used some of them for a meatless Monday meal.

Hatch Chile and Cheese Tacos
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and cut into ¼-inch strips
12 Hatch Chiles, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and sliced lengthwise into ½-inch wide strips
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup heavy cream
12 corn tortillas
6 ounces queso fresco, crumbled

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until they are translucent and begin to brown on the edges. Turn heat to low and add chiles, salt, pepper and cream to skillet. Cook over low heat just until cream is heated through.

Wrap corn tortillas in a clean, damp dish towel and microwave on high for 1 minute; tortillas should be steaming hot.

Fill each tortilla with equal amounts of the chile mixture. Sprinkle queso fresco over the tortillas, dividing equally, and serve immediately.

Makes 12 tacos.

Recipe adapted from Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook by Sharon Hernandez and Chef Ida Rodriguez.

Sandy’s Recipe Notes:

  • For roasting and peeling information, please check this post.
  • I used a sweet onion, such as a Vidalia, for milder flavor.
  • Instead of cutting strips, I simply peeled off strips with my fingers. For larger chiles, cut in half crosswise before peeling the strips.

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Posted: Sep 4th by Sandy_Hu