Hatch, a town of about 1,000 in southern New Mexico, calls itself the
chile capital of the world and produces varieties of Hatch Chiles from mild
to triple-X, or tongue-blasting hot.
Most often, Hatch chiles are roasted and peeled before used as an
ingredient. The following is a guide for roasting the chiles:
Because touching fresh chiles can sting the skin, it's best to wear
disposable gloves when handling. Select chiles that are firm to the
touch and devoid of puckering, a sign the chiles are beginning to
deteriorate. Wash well and dry.
Place chiles on a grill and roast about 3 minutes until the skin
begins to blister. The key is blistering the skin without cooking the
chile. Alternatively, place the chiles on a flat cast iron skillet on
the stove top.
When chiles are blistered on one side, use long tongs to turn them.
Continue until the chiles are generously blistered on all sides.
Place in a plastic bag, seal and allow to sweat for about 5 minutes. Sweating
loosens the blistered skin.
Place chiles under running water and gently "pop" or pull off the
stem. Use your fingers to remove the skin.
When done, the chiles will be ready to chop and use in your favorite
dish. Or wrap well in freezer-proof bags, and the chiles will keep for
up to a year, or until next year's fresh harvest.
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