by Kate Heyhoe
Makes about 1-1/2 cups
This is one of those recipes where simplicity rules. Mild green chiles are fire-roasted, peeled, then chopped and mixed with grilled green onions, salt, a bit of oregano, oil and a squeeze of lime. The key, though, is serving this sauce on top of a perfect charcoal-grilled steak, chicken breast or chop, letting the fire-kissed flavors dance merrily together. (I also like keeping this chunky sauce around for adding to quesadillas, nachos, tortillas and salads.)
Look for long, slender fresh green chiles, about 6 inches long, known as New Mexican chiles. If not available, substitute Anaheim chiles, which look similar but are milder and grassier in flavor. (In a pinch, you can achieve a similar effect using roasted, canned green chiles, but it won't be the same.)
Tip: If you're going to take the time to fire-roast and peel chiles (and you should!), go ahead and prepare as many as your grill can handle. After peeling and seeding, freeze the prepared chiles in zipper bags, a few chiles per bag, so you can add them to any dish at a moment's notice. The taste is far superior to canned chiles, and many a winter meal in my house has come together instantly with just thawed roasted chiles, cheese and tortillas.
4 New Mexico green chiles (or Anaheims)
3 green onions, with green stalks
nonstick spray or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon finely crumbled oregano (preferably Mexican)
1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
Heat the grill (or broiler) until very hot.
Lightly coat the chiles and green onions with nonstick vegetable oil spray, or wipe with vegetable oil. (This isn't absolutely necessary, but I find the oil helps transfer the heat more quickly, so the chiles char and blister faster without scorching the flesh beneath.)
Place the chiles and green onions on the grill over high heat. Cook the chiles on all sides until the skin blisters all over, turning after each side is done. You want to cook the chiles quickly, to blister and char the skin without burning the flesh. Grill the onions until char marks appear, turning after each side is done. Remove the chiles and green onions to a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let rest at least 15 minutes or as long as 2 hours.
Remove the green onions to a cutting board and set aside.
Transfer the chiles to a sieve or colander and place it over the same bowl to catch the juices. Using your fingers, peel off the charred skin (it's OK if small bits of char remain, it adds flavor and color). Discard the stem and seeds. Don't rinse the chiles under water—you'll lose the flavorful juices.
Trim away the root end and finely chop the charred green onions, white and green parts both.
Chop the peppers into about 1/2-inch dice and return them to the bowl with any collected juices. Add the chopped green onion. Mix in the 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, lime juice, oregano and salt. Let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to blend (or several hours) while you grill steaks, chops, or chicken breasts. Taste and correct the seasonings before serving; you may need to adjust the salt or lime juice.Serve the mixture at room temperature by garnishing a spoonful of the chile mixture on a hot grilled steak, chop or chicken breast.
Copyright © 1999, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created June 1999
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