Roasting Green Chiles

When you cook with fresh green chiles, I recommend that you parch or roast them to remove the tough outer skin. The process—intense direct heat on the peel of the chile that nonetheless leaves the flesh uncooked—is easy enough, but if you are not used to the sting of chiles, you may want to wear rubber gloves or generously butter your hands to prevent a burn from the chiles’ irritating oils.

To parch chiles, first wash them, removing all sand and dirt. Leave the stem on, then pierce each one with a sharp knife, about 1 inch down from the stem.

To Parch a Few Chiles: Set up an ice water bath in a large bowl next to the stove. Place each chile directly on a medium-hot electric burner surface unit, or hold it with tongs or a meat fork over a gas burner on medium-high heat. Using tongs, carefully rotate the chiles until the skin is charred on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes, then plunge the roasted chiles into the ice bath. Allow the chiles to soak until cool to the touch, then use your fingers to peel away the skin from stem to tip.

To Parch Large Quantities of Chiles: If using an electric oven, cover the entire top rack with heavy aluminum foil and place it four inches from the broiler unit. If yours is a gas oven, cover the broiler rack with foil and place the rack in the closest position to the broiler. (For smaller quantities, cover a baking sheet with foil, and place it on an uncovered rack.)

Preheat the broiler. Set up an ice water bath in the sink or a very large bowl. When the broiler is hot, carefully place a single layer of chiles on the foil-covered rack or baking sheet and broil until the skin begins to blister on top, about 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully turn the chiles using long tongs or a metal meat fork, and continue to cook until the skins are blistered all over, about minutes more. Watch the chiles closely—they burn quickly. As soon as the chiles are parched, immerse them in the ice bath. Once the chiles have cooled to the touch, simply pull off the skin in strips, working from the stem to the tip—it should come away easily.

Blot the chiles dry between layers of paper towels. Keep the stems on if preparing chiles rellenos, or remove them if using the chiles in other ways. For a milder roasted chile, slice open the pods and strip out the seeds and veins with the backside of a knife.

Freezing Parched Chiles

Once you’ve prepared your chiles, you can use them right away or freeze them for later use.

To freeze parched chiles, drain them well after removing them from the ice water bath, then place them on cookie sheets and freeze them (Do not peel the chiles—leaving the skin on now gives you more flexibility of use lat) Package the flash-frozen chiles in plastic freezer bags. To use in a recipe, prep the chiles as needed.

Although freezing does soften the chiles’ crisp texture, it does not impair the taste. Because chiles are perishable and seasonal, freezing is often the only alternative. Parched green chiles freeze well for one year

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