Nothing says summer in New Mexico like the smell of roasting chile. Once, we drove around for several hours with the best part of a bushel of roasted chile in the back of our car and for days after, the car was filled with its pungent perfume.
For some folks, peeling the blackened skin off roasted chile is a family tradition, as much as fixing Thanksgiving dinner or icing a birthday cake. There’s something satisfying as you store chile in plastic bags destined for the freezer – like you’re storing sun and heat (literally) for a dark and rainy winter day.
But we don’t wait for rainy days because green chile is the star of the show now. We make a mean corn and potato chowder, laced with chopped green chile and finished with a generous glug of cream. Or whip up our green chile pesto or tuck slivers of green chile under slices of cheddar cheese for the best – and we mean best – grilled cheese sandwich.
Note: These are the easiest quick pickles ever. Give them a few hours to luxuriate in the pickling mix and they’re ready to eat or make them a day before so you’re ahead of the game.
Mirin is a Japanese staple and similar to sake but lower in alcohol and sweeter. It’s made from rice and has a slight thickness to it. You’ll find it alongside other Asian ingredients in many supermarkets but if you can’t find it, you could substitute white wine vinegar with some added granulated sugar.
1 lb. small cucumbers, sliced thinly
2 roasted green chile, deseeded and sliced
¼ cup sugar
½ cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. salt
½ tsp. mustard seeds
Place the sugar, rice wine vinegar, mirin, salt and mustard seeds in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Put the cucumbers and chile in a bowl and pour the pickling liquid over them. The liquid won’t cover the cucumber and chile mixture completely but don’t worry – the heat will soften them. Let sit for an hour or so, stirring every now and then. Place in a clean glass jar and refrigerate until ready to serve.