Written by Carrmichael
Saturday, 15 September 2012 11:00
As a part of Les Dames d'Escoffier Culinary Insiders Weekend, foodies took part in a guided chile tasting led by Frontera Foods Culinary Director and Dame JeanMarie Brownson. They tasted fresh and dried chiles along with classic salsas that highlight our favorite chile assets. After class, Dame Deann Bayless hosted a special lunch in the Morales Room at Frontera Grill, featuring some of Mexico's best-loved street foods.
After the chile tasting, lunch was served with Deann Bayless. One of the featured dishes was Frontera Grill's Tomato Melon "Cocktail" with serranos and three citrus dressing. We even served chile in dessert. Ancho in the tres leche cake.
At Frontera, we cook with chiles, both fresh and dried, for their flavor—not just their heat.
Here are 5 tips for working with chiles:
- Jalapeños are found in practically every market but vary widely in their heat range, usually the bigger the chile, the milder the flavor. Store fresh jalapeños in a loosely closed plastic bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator.
- Fresh poblano chiles and large jalapeños taste great roasted. Set them over a gas flame, under a broiler or on the grill. Roast, turning often, until skin is blistered and blackened, about 10 minutes. Cool covered with a cloth towel. Gently slip off charred skin. Use whole for chiles rellenos or cut into thin slices to add to soups, salads and stew, or finely chop and add to salsa.
- Stock up on the gorgeous fresh habaneros now at local farmer’s markets. Simply put them into freezer containers and freeze for several months. Or roast the habaneros and grind them in a blender with fresh lime juice and salt into a thick salsa. Serve this blazing hot condiment with eggs, roast or grilled pork and seafood.
- Dried chiles will keep in the freezer for a year or so. To use, remove the seeds and stems and tear into flat pieces. Gently toast the pieces on a hot cast-iron skillet just until aromatic, a few seconds. Then soak in hot water until soft and puree in a blender until smooth. Use this chile paste to season sauces, salsas and stews.
- After opening a can of chipotles in adobo, transfer the contents to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator; they’ll keep several months. Use the spicy adobo sauce to season barbecue sauce, stews and chili.