Every late summer, I see recipes that call for Hatch Chiles pop up on Pinterest, and in food magazines. I’ve scoured the stores in the Boston area for these chiles but have never been able to find them. I guess that’s because they ship them all to Arizona! Now everywhere I look, I see piles and bags of Hatch chiles. They’re grown in Hatch Valley, New Mexico (AKA the chile capital of the world), and they have a very short harvest season – late July through August, which explains why they’re prevalent in the southwest, but not so much in New England.
The Hatch chile is cousin to the Anaheim and they kind of look alike. Mine were just a little bit spicy, but apparently there are some varieties that are hotter. I was so excited to find them at Sprouts Market the other day –you would have think I stumbled on a gold mine, and I immediately scooped up a few bags. Of course then I realized every market in the area carries lots and lots of them this time of the year… So now it’s what to do with all of my chiles?
I found out that locals from New Mexico roast, peel, seed and then freeze them, so of course I’m on that. I also decided to try pickling them with some onions, to use as a topping for tacos or grilled fish, or even to perk up some salsa or guacamole. These are refrigerator pickled, so they need to stay in the fridge, but they will last for a good month or so as long as they’re tightly sealed. If you can’t find Hatch chiles, you can substitute Anaheims for a milder pepper, or Seranos for a hotter pepper – or a little bit of each to meet in the middle.
Do you have Hatch chiles where you live? Do you spell it CHILE or CHILI?