Posted by: Dave DeWitt on Nov 29, 2008
Nancy Gerlach reports from Yucatán:
I never thought I'd miss New Mexico chile so soon, but I do. The only fresh green chiles that are available here are poblanos. Of coarse we do get fresh jalapeños, habaneros, xcatik, and serranos. Last week I made a batch of my barbecue sauce substituting guajillos for the NM red and it didn't have a sweet chile flavor that you get with NM red. It was good, just different. I am convinced that there are absolutely no better tasting chiles than NM green and red.
I also want to report that the hot jalapeño is alive and well and growing in Mexico. I think you and I had a discussion before I left about how tame they had become in the U.S. and were almost as wild as a bell pepper. I actually stopped eating them and was substituting serranos in recipes. We bought some big jalapeños from our produce lady at the local market a couple of weeks ago and decided to make rellenos out of them with some leftover cochinita pibil that I had made. I took one small bite and I thought the top of my head was coming off! I flushed bright red, broke out in a sweat, and almost started hiccuping. The heat level of those puppies was almost as high as some habaneros and I thought of you and your reaction to them in the "old days." The next time we were at the stand, we told them about how hot they were and our reactions. Everyone around had a good laugh, and then we asked for more.