At a trip to the farmer's market this weekend I saw buckets, baskets and bins loaded with the most beautiful chilies. I love chilies -- from the sweet ones to the spicy varieties. Not only do they add so much flavor to a dish, they also add irrisistible color to your presentation.
A few helpful tips on cooking with chilies:
1. You never know how hot a chili is until you cut it open. So don't ever assume a chili is or isn't spicy just by its name. You will instantly know how hot it is just by the smell of a freshly cut chili.
2. The heat is mostly in the ribs that connect the seeds to the chili (not the seeds themselves). So, if you want to bring the heat, include the ribs and seeds. If you want to mellow the spice factor, discard the seeds and ribs.
3. Chilies get hotter as they cook so expect the spiciness to increase when you cook with them.
4. If you are cooking with very hot chilies like a Scotch bonnet or a habanero, I strongly recommend wearing a pair of latex gloves to protect your skin. The unwelcome burn of a chili can last for days.
What to cook with these gorgeous chilies?
I grabbed red, yellow & orange bell peppers and 1 poblano (because I wanted a little bit of heat but not too much since I wanted my kids to eat!) at the farmer's market and made this for our Sunday supper:
Grilled Rosemary & Garlic Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Chilies
1 pork tenderloin
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt & freshly ground pepper
3 bell peppers, a variety of colors
1 poblano chili
1 Tbsp sherry (or red wine) vinegar
Stand each chili up so that the stem is on top and slice the outside (leaving the core, seeds and ribs behind) of each chili into 4 large pieces. Toss the sliced chilies in a non-reactive bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the sherry vinegar and season generously with salt and pepper.
Grill the pork until it registers 145°F on an instant-read thermometer. On my grill, this took about 15 minutes total, and I flipped the pork 3 or 4 times to get nice grill marks on all sides. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let it rest while you grill the chilies. Grill the chilies until they are lightly grill-marked and soft, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2-inch slices. Toss the chilies all together and season once more with salt and pepper.
Cut the pork tenderloin into 1/2-inch slices and transfer to a serving platter. Place the grilled chilies alongside the pork and serve at once.
We served this delicious dinner with a thinly sliced Italian baguette and a hunk of Nicasio Valley Foggy Morning cheese (yum!) that we also scored at the farmer's market. My girls ended up making mini pork and pepper sandwiches and they loved every bite!
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer and happy grilling!