Chile experts recognize and appreciate chiles from Hatch New Mexico. In fact, Melissa’s Produce is aware of this phenomenon and trucks Hatch chiles from New Mexico to selected Southern California locations each year. For the past few years, Bryan and his wife have visited Bristol Farms to enjoy this wonderful experience and to pick up a year’s supply of this amazing chile. Read on for details….
A few years back, my wife and I attended a cooking class conducted by Rocky Durham at the Santa Fe Cooking School and learned that the unique flavor of Hatch Chiles results from a combination of the soil and the harsh climate of New Mexico. They are extremely meaty in texture and because they are usually sold freshly roasted, have a distinct flavor. Rocky believes that the chiles become distressed due to the New Mexico heat; if you attempt to grow them anywhere else in the world, they won’t taste the same as the chiles grown in New Mexico.
Most New Mexico expats based in Southern California buy at least a case of Hatch chiles and spend a couple of hours peeling and seeding them. Some purchase more than a case and make this into a family event where they line up in assembly line fashion. While this is extremely labor intensive and potentially hazardous due to the intense heat, my wife and I perform this ritual each year. Last year, the heat of the chiles was so great that we felt a burning sensation in our hands as we peeled and seeded the chiles.
Some of the chiles we leave whole; these are for chile relleno, or Mexican style stuffed chiles. Others are sliced length-wise into strips and used in recipes such as enchiladas. The remainder of the chiles are chopped and used for salsa. These are bagged in Ziploc bags, labeled and placed into the freezer. This year we’ll probably make traditional New Mexican green chile stew.
If you make salsa at home, you can surprise your friends by changing your recipe; substitute Hatch chiles for canned green chiles. You’ll be amazed at the difference using fire roasted Hatch chiles.
In addition, Melissa’s Produce has a number of recipes on their website.
Melissa’s Produce continues their Southern California tour. Here’s where they’ll be stopping next:
Saturday, 9/1 Bristol Farms, South Pasadena
Sunday, 9/2 Roe’s Restaurant, Belmont Shores
Saturday, 9/8 Bristol Farms, Newport Beach
Sunday, 9/9 Bristol Farms, Newport Beach