So, we have a new Hatch chile recipe for you, which is a Hatch chile agar agar noodle bowl with salmon and teriyaki.
[Record scratch] Hold it! Hatch chile what-what?!?! OK, this is going to take a little bit of explanation. Bear with us while we walk through the story:
First, Hatch chiles are super-special chile peppers that are grown exclusively in Hatch, New Mexico. The climate in Hatch is unique in that it is brutally hot during the day and very cool at night. This results in a pepper with an unusually meaty flesh and a distinctive flavor. Hatch chile season lasts from mid-August to late September, culminating with a massive festival in Hatch, New Mexico every Labor Day weekend. And thanks to Melissa’s, you don’t have to live in New Mexico to get into the spirit: During Hatch chile season (happening right now!), there are Hatch roasting festivals held at supermarkets across the country.
Our 11-year-old kid also happens to be a big fan of Hatch chiles – the hotter the better – so of course we took him to the first seasonal Hatch chile roast last week. On the way to the roast, we talked about what would be the most unique recipe we could think of to make with Hatch chiles, and we came up with the idea of Hatch chile apple pie. Imagine our surprise, then, when we rolled into the festival and the first item we saw was Hatch Chile apple pie. [Insert sad trombone sound]
Now pause that story for a second and flip over to a recent chef challenge we watched with our teenager: A chef had to come up with a way to use an obscure ingredient – so he pureed it, mixed it with agar agar (a gelatin that does not use animal products), spread it out, chilled it, and sliced it out into noodles. We were so blown away by that odd little trick that we filed it away as something we wanted to do later. Agar agar noodles are popular in molecular gastronomy-themed dishes as sort of a neat trick, but they’re also surprisingly easy to make without a bunch of fancy equipment AND they’re a nice gluten-free alternative to noodles.
Now turn back again to the Hatch chile dilemma. Every recipe we can think of has already been done… or has it? What about gluten-free agar agar noodles made with Hatch chiles? Why not?
So to make these noodles we took a few roasted Hatch chiles, seeded them, and scraped off as much of the charred black skin as we could.
Then we pureed them with chicken broth – enough to make one cup total – and then boiled the mixture with agar agar. Next we spread them out on a cookie sheet, chilled the whole thing, and then sliced it all into “noodles.” Voila!
We know. You’ve got questions. Hold up for the recipe first.
- 4 Hatch chiles, roasted (mild or hot, your choice)
- Approximately ½ to ¾ cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp. agar agar
- 2 3-ounce pieces grilled salmon, slightly cooled (i.e. not piping hot off the grill)
- 2 T. teriyaki sauce
- Peel and seed the chiles, scraping off as many of the charred black flecks as possible. Puree the chiles in a food processor or blender; add enough chicken broth to bring the total mixture to one cup.
- Pour the chile mixture into a small saucepan, add the agar agar, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Let the mixture simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture into a small baking sheet (approximately 13x18 but if it's not these exact dimensions it's OK) (also - we lined ours with parchment paper to keep it neat) and then put it in the refrigerator to set for 30-60 minutes.
- Once the puree has solidified into a very firm gelatin, remove the tray from the refrigerator and slice the mold into long thin strips (some will break, and that's OK!). We used a sharp knife to score the gelatin, and then a spatula to lift the strips off the tray. Divide the "noodles" into two bowls. Top with grilled salmon and teriyaki sauce.
So, the deal with these noodles is that they are essentially gelatin, so you have to approach them as such. They’re not going to have the firm taste of familiar noodles – they’re going to be more of a melt-in-your-mouth taste. They also won’t stand up to heat, so this recipe is best served with the salmon slightly cooled – at least not straight off the grill.
Also, as we mentioned earlier, you don’t need any special equipment. You just need to make sure that the gelatin is plenty firm before you slice it, and you have to handle it with a light touch. Remember that if you use a larger pan you get thinner and more delicate noodles, so you’re better off keeping the pan size small so that the noodles are thick enough to hold together.
So there you have it – a Hatch chile agar agar noodle bowl with salmon and teriyaki. What crazy thing should we do with Hatch chiles next?
Blogger disclosure: Melissa’s provided us with Hatch chiles from a local Hatch chile roast. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.