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Westlake Weekly Update 8.4.21
Featured Item: Hatch Hype
As we roll into August, most of us have school on the brain. We’re out there bulk buying pencils, pens, and notebooks. But in the Southwest, everyone has Hatch fever! They’re stocking up on Hatch chiles in August. These last few weeks of summer are just spicing up around the Hatch Valley. Hatch Chiles are here and now readily available near you.
Think of Hatch chiles like the “it girl” of the pepper world. Like no other chile grown, they are harvested exclusively in the Mesilla Valley in Hatch, New Mexico. People in the know are serious about these regional specialty peppers.
The Hatch chile has always been an essential staple in New Mexico. It’s kind of like the pumpkin spice of the Southwest. People can’t seem to get enough of it, plus it has a limited season which makes it even more special. You’ll find it flavoring anything and everything during this time. Even big businesses like McDonald’s will offer Hatch chiles on their burgers in the area.
Now you might be thinking, “I don’t like spicy peppers,” but hatch chiles are actually not that hot. Instead, they are a perfect combination of sweet, smoky, and spicy. They fall pretty low relatively on the Scoville scale, which measures a pepper’s heat index. Size is a telling clue for a chile’s heat level; smaller chiles tend to be hotter, and larger chiles tend to be milder.
That’s not to say they don’t have any heat. There are some hotter hatch chiles available. So no matter your level of heat, there’s one just perfect for you.
What you should worry about is getting enough! These chiles have such a limited growing season, typically August through September. Just as with any fresh produce, the peak will have the best chiles. They can be bought fresh or roasted and then froze for later use. Trust us; you’ll want these in your freezer come winter. The chiles are excellent for use in enchiladas, salsas, and cornbread now. Once the cooler weather sets in, add them to soups or stews.
Now where Hatch chiles really shine like no other pepper is when roasted. No other chile gets the same smoky, sweet and buttery flavor as a roasted Hatch; if you can’t make it to a roasting event in your area, no problem! They can be roasted on a hot grill or plopped in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 375*.
Once you’ve got your roasted chile peppers, try this easy and fantastic recipe from our very own Jeff Miller. When this dish hits our offices, it doesn’t last long!