While I ate ridiculously well on my road trip, all those days in a row of eating out were starting to wear on me. Since many of our later hotels didn't have fridges, I felt obligated to finish my dinners, so a lot of nights I was so full it was a bit painful. So, on the plane, I browsed through my food magazines on my tablet, in between using the free TV to watch Food Network (yeah, everyone nearby probably thought I was ridiculous).
One of the recipes that caught my eyes was a simple recipe for roasted Hatch chile salsa. Hatch chiles refer to a few varieties of chile peppers grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. They've had a cult following for ages, with people mail-ordering them from New Mexico, but now you can find them in a lot of grocery stores. They have a bit of heat, but are mostly famous for packing a ton of flavor. I'd eaten them but not used them before.
Since it's still 900000000000 degrees here in Chicago (okay and also because the broiler is broken) I opted to char the veggies on the grill.
From there, I tossed the chiles in a plastic bag to let them steam a bit, to make the skins easier to remove. Which, really just makes "impossible" into "possible but still frustrating." I removed the stems and skins. The recipe called for tossing the seeds, but come on. If your taste buds are sensitive, do that. I keep about a chile and a half worth of seeds, which led to decent but not at all painful heat. Keep it all if you like it hot!
Now is the time it is good to have a food processor. If you don't, you can chop everything by hand real small, but um…yeah that's going to be slow going. I tossed it in the food processor with lime, cilantro, and salt, pulsed until everything was nicely chopped up, and then shoveled some in my face, before using it to top steak and corn tacos. I've been enjoying it with tortilla chips all week.
grilled Hatch chile and tomato salsa
Adapted from Cooking Light September 2013
1 pound of tomatoes
3 Hatch chiles
2-3 shallots, peeled
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
Heat up your grill for direct, high heat. Using a grill pan, grill the vegetables (tomatoes through garlic) over the heat, 4-6 minutes on each side or until you get some nice blackening. Remove the veggies from the grill and place the chiles in a zip-loc bag. Seal the bag and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Remove the chiles from the bag. Remove the peels and stems, and as much of the seeds as you see fit.
Toss the chiles and other veggies in the bowl of a food processor. Add the lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil. Pulse about 7-10 times for a chopped texture, or keep going if you prefer a puree-style salsa. Eat immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge. It should last for about a week or so!