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Monday, August 17, 2015

Hatch Chile Season Has Officially Started

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge Hatch chiles in the roaster. - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Hatch chiles in the roaster.

Did you miss your first opportunity to get Hatch Chiles at Mollie Stone’s?

Yesterday, a crew of roasting professionals from Melissa’s set up camp on Collingwood Street, next to the Castro Mollie Stone’s, in time for a 10 a.m. opening. They had three roasting machines going, which created a formidable heat shimmer and a 50-foot radius within which you could smell the burn. By 10:15, the atmosphere was decidedly circus-like, with people gleefully walking away with boxes of 10 and 25 pounds.

click to enlarge PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
What is so special about Hatch chiles? Well, the Hatch Valley in Southern New Mexico’s Rio Grande Valley has a unique terroir that’s hospitable for growing meaty, buttery peppers. (It’s also good for space. Spaceport America and the White Sands Missile Range are nearby.) New Mexico's state vegetable, they’re available only during a limited, late-summer window, and it used to be very hard to get your hands on them if you didn’t live there. That’s since changed, and these four-to-six-inch green peppers, which rate on the Scoville scale somewhere between serranos and jalapeños, are highly prized for their versatility and smoky flavor.

Hatch chiles will keep for four days in the fridge, but you can freeze them for up to year. They’re great in mac ’n’ cheese, frittatas, hummus, mole, margaritas, and basically any preparation of potatoes or eggs. As I was waiting for my batch and trying not to let anybody see how hard I was sweating from having eaten a really hot one, another customer mentioned that he’d just thawed out the last of his 2014 chiles to make a cornbread.

As trendy foodstuffs inevitably do, Hatch chiles are already over and the Pueblos from Colorado are supposedly the new It-capsicum, now that Whole Foods has switched allegiances. OK, yeah, fine, whatevs. If you’re not quite ready for that, you can get some at various Mollie Stone’s locations between now and mid-September:

Saturday, Aug. 23, 12-4 p.m.: Greenbrae
Sunday, Aug. 24, 12-4 p.m.: Pacific Heights
Saturday, Sept. 6, 12-4 p.m.: Sausalito
Sunday, Sept. 7, 12-4 p.m.: Burlingame
Thursday, Sept. 11, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: San Bruno
Friday, Sept. 12, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Palo Alto
Saturday, Sept. 13, 12-4 p.m.: San Bruno
Sunday, Sept. 14, 12-4 p.m.: Palo Alto

Happy Hatching!

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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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