A few years ago, our neighborhood HEB store was roasting Hatch chilies on huge charcoal grills right out in front of the store. The smell of roasting peppers washed across the parking lot and drew me in like those cartoons of people drifting with their feet off the ground towards whatever is enchanting them. For me, it’s roasting peppers. Good Lord in Heaven… if they could put that scent into a candle, I’d burn it all day long. If they could bottle it, I’d be smearing it on my wrists and rubbing it behind my ears every morning. It’s my kryptonite.
When I cruised through the produce department, they weren’t roasting them
dang it. They were putting them out in large cardboard bins with a sign that said “Hatch Green Chilies – 99 cents/pound.” To which, I believe I said (out loud), “Well, then… I’m gonna need a BIG bag” as I twitched and giggled maniacally and watched a few little old ladies back away in terror. I’m just being straight with you – nothing comes between me and my chili peppers.
As soon as I got home and got my groceries put away, I fired up the grill and started roasting. Was it 101F? Yes, it was. Did I care? No, I did not.
Three and a half pounds of chili peppers may sound like a lot. It even looks like a lot when you seen them all spread out on the grill, but it’s horribly misleading. I’m not joking. That photo above? That’s a dessert plate, not a dinner plate. My 3.5 pounds of fresh peppers yielded 3 cups of roasted, peeled peppers. I know what you’re thinking – that’s not nearly enough. Right? That’s what I said!
Those cute little Gladware containers hold 1/2 cup each. It filled six of them. If you were a fly on my wall, you would have seen me standing over them, shaking my head, mumbling “not enough… not nearly enough.” Scary? Nah. Obsessive? Maybe a smidge. But when you love chili peppers as much as I do, you can’t help but covet them when they’re in season. Which is my way of saying I’m going back tomorrow and buying more. If you live in the southern burbs of Houston, you’d better get to HEB early tomorrow. If I make it there first, there may not be any left. Consider yourself warned. PS – don’t get between me and the chilies.