Mrs. Baca’s Roasted Hatch Chile Salsa20
Gluten Free, Vegan, Soy Free ……
Summer’s come and gone, but all things (produce in specific) that scream summer can still be fun anytime of the year, that is if you do happen to get your hands on them!
On a day off from work, I decided to visit the Farmers Market in Grapevine, TX and found that they still had the sign that said “Roasted Hatch Chiles”! Being late September, I wasn’t quite certain if they still had any left and presumed they just forgot to take it down after summer.
To my surprise they were selling fresh Hatch Chiles (yay!) and had an on site roaster (I had never seen this one before) if you needed them roasted. Ask any Hatch Chile lover and they’ll tell you it’s truly beyond than just a “woo hoo” or a “Yay!!” moment – to get fresh roasted Hatch Chiles, more so at this time of the year. (Roasted Hatch Chiles are packaged and stored in ice to keep the freshness, if you were to buy the pre-packaged boxes in the grocery store during Summer.)
I was first introduced to Hatch Chiles, four years ago, by Mrs. Baca. She is one of the sweetest, kindest and generous people I have come across thus far in life. She’s been there for me at times when I have never expected and has helped me learn more than just about Hatch Chiles.
Mrs. Baca shared with me her tips on how to use, cook and store these Chile peppers. My first batch included a bunch of roasted, frozen, vacuum sealed chiles that she had packaged herself at home. They were 3 in a pack and absolutely delicious (if you can bear the heat).
Since then, I have become, for the lack of a better word, a fan of these Chile peppers and look forward to the season they are available here, around where I live. Hatch peppers are grown extensively and exclusively in the Hatch Valley, New Mexico, as a result, its difficult to find them, in the part of Texas we live, all round the year (other than, of course, in household freezers, like mine and Mrs. Baca’s).
Each August I try to buy at least one batch each of the mild and hot varieties and never give up a chance to buy and freeze them anytime I see them. Just like my fellow Hatch Chile enthusiasts, a trip to the local Central Market for their Hatch Chile Festival has now become a summer ‘tradition’- yes, that’s when everything in my shopping cart either contains or is derived from Hatch Chiles.
Here, by me, I have always found the Mild and Hot varieties. I unfortunately, do not have enough information to know if there are any other kinds available. Personally, I prefer the hot variety and like them roasted. Hatch Chiles lend themselves to roasting more than any other kind of peppers. The char adds a unique aroma and enhances the flavor of these peppers, more so when roasted till their skin blisters. This makes them very versatile to use in possibly anything and everything culinary.
I have been quite lucky to get the recipe for Mrs. Baca’s famous Hatch Chili Salsa. It’s amazing to see how super simple it is and yet has that gourmet feel to it. Those of us who know her, are very well aware how great and delicious this recipe is. It was hard for me to believe when someone first told me this about her trademark salsa “You better make sure you get yourself a huge serving, because there has never been a time when you‘ve found any left for seconds!” True enough, that’s always been the case whenever Mrs. Baca has brought in her home-made salsa.
Using her recipe to make Hatch Chile Salsa is sort of turning into a ritual, because we love it so much! I guess we have enough frozen chiles to make salsa and enjoy till its Hatch Chile season again. According to Mrs. Baca you could add canned tomatoes, but I prefer using freshly cut, just to avoid any traces of gluten contained in the canned ones. Being gluten-free, dairy–free, nut-free, vegan and soy-free it’s something that I can enjoy and relish (without any apprehensions), of course, with some gluten-free tortilla chips.
Mrs. Baca’s Roasted Hatch Chile Salsa
3 hot Hatch Chiles, roasted till skin blisters (or 4 mild Hatch Chilies, roasted till skin blisters)
1 large onion, peeled, quartered
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 ½ cup tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 ½ – 2 tablespoons lime juice (freshly squeezed)
½ teaspoon black Pepper, freshly ground
Slide the skin off the chiles, as much as possible, under running water. Remove the stem and seeds. (I let the seeds and stem remain on half of them, as we like it that way.)
Blend together – onion, garlic, chiles, tomatoes, cilantro, until smooth.
Add in salt, pepper and lime juice. Mix well.
Transfer into a serving bowl and serve with warm chips.
Yield: about 3 ½ – 4 cups