Way back in January, we read an article about hatch chiles -- the beautiful New Mexico chiles that are only available for a short time in late summer every year. We'd been dying to try them anyway, so we placed an order via Berridge Farms.
And then we forgot about it.
That it, until some eight months later, when on August 3rd we received an email: "Chiles are ready to ship this week."
And sure enough, there they came, a massive box of hatch chiles. We could smell them as soon as we entered the house. We tore into the box ready to get to cooking.
Maybe they've been served to us somewhere and we didn't know it, but we suspect we've never had actual New Mexico hatch chiles. We've read about them for years, though, as they pop up occasionally in magazines and shows like Good Food or The Splendid Table. One thing we've always wanted to eat is an authentic green-chile cheeseburger in New Mexico (should we start a food bucket list?).
Well, we didn't make the cheeseburger, but we did do our best to tear through our 10 pounds of chiles in a few short weeks.
We had ordered "medium" hot peppers. (You can choose from "mild," "medium," "hot" and "x-tra hot." By the way, our 10-pound box cost $29.75 plus shipping, which was about as much as the peppers themselves.) "Medium" turned out to be a mistake. After we roasted and diced the first chiles, we found them to be extremely mild for our palates. But still, we loved the smoky flavor of the chiles.
Other blogs can walk you through the steps of how to roast hatch chiles at home. In the weeks that we were cooking them, we found ourselves alternating between roasting on the stovetop and the grill, depending on what else were making that night. The peppers roast quickly and the blackened skin slips right off.
As we ate through our massive box of chiles, we threw those suckers into everything -- salads, grilled chicken, succotash and weird, quasi-fusion Asian-Southwest stir-fry dishes.
But our very favorite hatch chile dish was eggs. Tossed into scrambled eggs with other late-summer vegetables like tomatoes and corn, the smokiness of the chiles really stood out, and made our otherwise boring eggs something very special.
Another hatch favorite was an adapted version of a Crisp Zucchini, Eggplant and Tomato Gratin (a dish we love from a few years ago). The chiles were great in a simple gratin like this. (Pssst... Now is also the perfect time to make this gratin with what summer produce you might still find.)
Once we had eaten all the chiles we could take, we roasted the rest, diced them up and stored them in the freezer for this winter. So more chile adventures await.
Speaking of chile adventures: Hatch Chile Festival next year? Twist our arms.
We've got to find one of those cheeseburgers.