Every year around summer I get a little bit sad because summer means the year is half over and where did the time go? Besides Steph, one of the things that help me get over my summertime sadness is the onset of Hatch chile season. If you live anywhere in the southwestern United States, including California, you’ll undoubtedly know about these guys, and see signs everywhere that declare Hatch chile season is here, it’s now or next year!
Hatch chiles are to New Mexico what Parmigiano Reggiano is to the Italians: the king of peppers and a symbol of pride. The smoky spicy garlicky flavor of a good Hatch chile can’t be found in any other pepper, and as a self described pepperhead, I really feel like it’s one of the best peppers on the planet. Not necessarily the spiciest, but one of the tastiest.
So what do you put this salsa verde on? Everything. It can be a condiment, a seasoning, or a sauce. We’ve used it to make Hatch chili (chili with an i, aka a stew), Hatch chile tacos, Hatch chile chicken thighs, and soon if I have my way, Hatch chile porchetta sandwiches. This recipe looks – and is – super simple but it’s also super tasty and well tested and refined. I’m assuming it’s probably the standard way everyone makes this salsa verde, because it can’t get any simpler than this.
What should you do if you can’t access Hatch chiles or you have a hankering for this and it’s not in season? If you can get Anaheim peppers at your local grocery store, they are actually genetically almost the same pepper. The only difference is the terroir of New Mexico’s incredible soils, and the spice level. Anaheims came about because a California native moved to New Mexico and loved New Mexico Chiles so much he brought them back home to plant.
We went out of our way to buy some Anaheims even though Hatch chiles are in season. I needed a lot of will power not to just buy more Hatch chiles instead, but we needed to test our theory. After careful research (aka lots of eating raw and roasted Hatch and Anaheim peppers) I would say that Anaheims + a green thai chili = 85% as good as a Hatch chile. That’s an entirely made up stat, but it feels right. The flavor difference is not that pronounced, mostly you are missing the smokiness and the heat from the Hatch chiles. I won’t put this in the recipe, but essentially if you don’t have Hatch chiles, substitute with 4 anaheims and some serrano or thai chili to up the heat index.
PS, If you’re ever out in Moab, UT, the best salsa verde I’ve had in a restaurant was at Moab Diner. I would literally drive across the desert again for that stuff.
Easy 4 Ingredient Hatch Chile Salsa Verde Recipe
Makes 2 cups
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 18 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
- 1 cup Hatch chiles (about 4)
- 1 pound tomatillo
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 cup cilantro (about half a bunch)
Set your oven to broil.
Remove tomatillo lanterns. Wash and dry your tomatillos and Hatch chiles.
Rub them with oil (any oil is fine) and place in oven. Flip them when they are toasted to your liking and do the other side. This took 18 minutes in our oven at 550ºF.
Once the peppers are done, put them in a ziploc bag to steam for 10 minutes. Transfer the tomatillos, along with cilantro, garlic, and a pinch of salt to a blender and set aside.
Remove the chiles from the bag and peel them. It’s not necessary but highly suggested that you also seed them with a small spoon. Once the chiles have been peeled and seeded, put them in the blender and puree well.