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.