HATCH CHILES BRING SUMMER SALAD TO LIFE!
I always look forward to August and September when those gorgeous long green Hatch chiles ripen to perfection and come to markets. Although the Hatch chiles make their native home in New Mexico, they love to travel!
Each year Hatch chiles make their annual sojourn to groceries across the U.S. and are roasted right on the premises. My hubby and I were intrigued watching a huge batch of Hatch chiles tossing as they roasted in the giant, outdoor, cylindrical open-grill roaster. Standing in the parking lot watching the chiles tumbling in the roaster, we could feel the strong blast of heat from these powerful machines, but even better was the rich chile aroma that wafted into the air as we watched. With only few inhales, I began to crave a taste of chile.
Luckily, there was also tasting. Inside the markets, mountains of lively chiles could be purchased fresh or roasted in mild or hot versions to please everyone's spice level. The official Hatch chile season begins in early August with roastings in several US states, but the chiles will be available through September. Here in Los Angeles, count on Gelson's Market to have a giant supply.
The markets that feature the roastings often have the chiles available for sampling--some even have Hatch chile infused salads or soups to sample. That's how we discovered the delicious Hatch chile flavor.
Try to catch one of these roastings --it's a kick--even if you're not a spice enthusiast. I started by tasting the mild chiles -- perfect for the spice wimps, while the hot ones--well, let's say they offer a bit more than a little tingle on the tongue! Such fun!
Here's the listing of Melissa's chile roasting events beginning August 8th: https://www.melissas.com/Articles.asp?ID=4172
Hatch chiles have really caught on and are so revered they show up in interesting products, like Not Ketchup Tangerine Hatch Chile Sauce in a 12-ounce bottle. Although the sauce was created for grilling and dipping, I found it a lively addition to my tasty summer salad by incorporating it right into the veggies as a dressing.
The Not Ketchup Sauce is a brilliant pairing of tangerines from California and Melissa's Hatch chiles from New Mexico, and is a dynamic innovation that really gives the salad an alluring flavor boost with a touch of heat.
I like that it's a little spicy, but not so killer hot it becomes a turn-off. I would label the spice level a mild-medium. To me it's absolutely perfect.
Here's a real advantage for those who need to avoid sugar---the sauce contains no sugar and is sweetened only with fruit (apples, dates, and tangerines). Pretty cool, I think--and it's boosted with apple cider vinegar to add a pleasing tanginess.
The Not Ketchup Tangerine Hatch Chile Sauce would also make a darned tasty stir-fry finishing sauce for vegetarian dishes that feature tofu or tempeh. Hey, it's made from Hatch chiles--how can you miss!
QUINOA, BLACK BEANS & CORN SALAD
Yield; 6 servings
1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 ears fresh or cooked corn kernels
1 cup snap peas, trimmed and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onions
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup Not Ketchup Tangerine Hatch Chile Sauce (from Melissa's)
Cluster of parsley, for garnish