Tuesday, August 28, 2007
In Praise of Hatch Chiles
Hatch, New Mexico is a small town of less than 2000 people in the southwest portion of the state whose only claim to fame is its chile crop. I don't know enough about chiles to know if Hatch chiles are their own variety or are simply an expression of another variety, but I do like them. They offer heat combined with a a base flavor that's very appealing -- no jalapeño grassiness, for example. If they are left to ripen completely, they'll be orange-red, but they're typically harvested green like those in the picture to the left at around this time (this coming weekend is the annual Hatch Valley Chile Festival). In celebration of the harvest, Central Market promotes the hell out of them, putting them in just about anything: cornbread, sausage, scones, rolls, hamburger and hotdog buns, tortillas, sourdough bread, and jack cheese. The jack cheese is my favorite (Hatch jack cheese quesadillas, yum), but most of them are very good.