Hatch Chiles - Pan-Roasted Whitefish with Green Chile Vinaigrette & Watercress

Chef Emily Swantner loves bold flavors and uses lots of hatch green chiles in her delicious dishes.

A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, Emily moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in December 2000, after having lived overseas for 12 years. She firmly believes that food is one of life’s great glories and passions and is committed to teaching others how to savor and enjoy its diversity.

Emily Swatner - Hatch Chiles

Each year she attends the big chile roast in Santa Fe and stocks up on Hatch green chiles. She gets both mild and hot ones. How can you tell which is hotter? The female chile is hotter. They are taller, longer and thinner at the top, while the male is milder and wider at the shoulder of the chile. Good to know next time you go chile buying!

This month’s newsletter features:



Hatch green chiles

1. New Mexico’s official state vegetable is the chile pepper. But it’s not really a vegetable according to horticulturists who classify it as a “fruit” and botanists who classify it as a “berry”

2. Salsas made from chile peppers surpassed ketchup as the American condiment of choice in 1999.

3. Ounce for ounce, green chile has more vitamin C than citrus fruits and it has been well documented that the chile pepper improves digestion, eases pain, and destroys bacteria.

Emily couldn’t emphasize enough how important it was to use fresh Hatch green chiles when cooking, but if they are not in season, you can use frozen from most grocery stores. She says Bueno Foods has frozen “Autumn Roast” chiles that are very good. Last resort is canned chiles.

Santa Fe Roasted Green Chile Relish atop Goat’s Cheese Crostini
I loved this appetizer Very easy to make and the flavors were bold and crisp!

Hatch Chiles - Santa Fe Roasted Green Chile Relish atop Goat's Cheese Crostini

Green Chile Relish:
Makes 3/4 to 1 cup relish

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 10 New Mexico green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crumbled between the palms of your hand
  • 1/2 teaspoon best quality garlic powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste


With a mortar and pestle mash the garlic with a pinch of salt until smooth. Stir in the lime juice. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Store relish in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Put in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Goat’s Cheese Crostini:

  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 12 ounces mild semi-soft goat’s cheese
  • 1 cup lightly toasted pepitas, for garnish.


Preheat the broiler to high. Put the baguette slices on a baking sheet and cook on one side until light golden. Turn the slices over and spread about a tablespoon of goat cheese on the untoasted side of each slice. Return to the broiler and cook until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Transfer the crostini to a platter, top with a dollop of Green Chile Relish and a sprinkling of toasted pepitas.

Pan-Roasted Whitefish with Green Chile Vinaigrette & Watercress
This next recipe she shared was a wonderful pan-roasted halibut served with caramelized corn with red peppers and cotija. The presentation was beautiful!

Hatch Chiles - Pan-Roasted Whitefish with Green Chile Vinaigrette & Watercress

Serving size 6

For the Fish:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile caribe or crushed red pepper
  • 6 (5-6 oz.) meaty whitefish (halibut)
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly milled black pepper
  • watercress leaves, to serve
  • avocado wedges, to serve


In a large non-stick fry pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and chile caribe or crushed red pepper. Season the fish with salt and pepper and add to the fry pan and cook, turning once, until opaque throughout, approximately 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets.

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely minced red onion
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro (stems is where the flavor is) and tear the cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 large Hatch green chile, or 2 medium jalapenos
  • freshly milled black pepper


In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, red onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in the honey, cilantro, Dijon mustard, garlic then slowly add the 1/2 cup olive oil while whisking vigorously to emulsify. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if necessary. Set aside.

In a small fry pan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the Hatch green chile and cook, turning, until charred and blistered on all sides. Remove and let cool slightly. Remove the charred skin. Discard the stems and cut the chiles in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds, then mince and add to the vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary.

To Serve: Whisk the vinaigrette to combine. Toss the watercress leaves with about 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Divide among 6 plates, along with a few avocado wedges, and put the fish on top. Spoon the remaining vinaigrette over each serving of fish. Serve hot.

Caramelized Corn with Red Peppers & Cotija

When corn, peppers and chile are in season in New Mexico, Emily says this is a perfect colorful side dish for grilled meat, fowl or seafood. Dry roasting the corn produces a sweet and nutty flavor.

Often referred to as Mexican Parmesan, Cotija is a hard, crumbly Mexican cheese made primarily from cow’s milk. Named after the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacan, it is used as an all-purpose grating or crumbling cheese.

Serving Size: 6

  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels, or frozen and thawed
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, small diced
  • 1 large Hatch green chile, stemmed, seeded, small diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder, or more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup grated cotija cheese


Heat a large cast iron or heavy fry pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kernels are light golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the fry pan and set aside.

In the same fry pan, heat the corn oil. Add the green onion, red bell pepper and green chile. Saute until just soft, about 5 minutes. Toss the corn back in the skillet and add the lime juice and chile powder. Stir to combine and cook until the corn is warm. Add salt and pepper to taste, additional lime juice or ancho chile powder, if necessary. Add the cilantro. Transfer to a bowl and top with grated cotija cheese. Serve hot or warm.

Apple & Green Chile Clafouti
Green chiles are at the height of their season in August, followed by apples in September. Emily is always looking for things to do with the bushel of roasted green chiles she picks up at the Farmer’s Market in Santa fe. This recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, and with a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream, how could you not love it?

Hatch Chiles: From Santa Fe With Love

Serving Size: 6

    • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 2/3 cups flour
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups half and half
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 3/4 cup mild New Mexico roasted, seeded and peeled green chile, (1/2 cup if using medium to hot chiles)
    • 2 cups Granny Smith apples or a combination of your favorite sweet/tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 tablespoon demerara sugar, for sprinkling
    • powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, flour, and sugar. Add the half and half, vanilla, lemon zest and salt. Set aside.

Put butter in a 9″x13″ baking pan and put in the heated oven until melted. Tilt the pan so that the butter coats the bottom sides.

Layer the apple slices with the green chiles.

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the apples.

Pour the custard mixture over the top. Sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, or until puffy, golden brown, and slightly firm in the center. Remove from oven, let cool for 15 minutes and dust with powdered sugar.

Serve while still warm or at room temperature with a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream.

The fertile Hatch and Rio Grande River Valleys in New Mexico grow the best green chile in the world. For generations, chile has been the pride and joy of New Mexican culture and tradition, the heart and soul of local cuisine. But, did you know New Mexico’s favorite crop is in peril? New Mexico’s chile farmers and producers are in trouble. And you and I may be too. Imagine New Mexico without their chile—that’s like New Mexico without its sunshine! Today 82% of chile consumed in the U.S.A is foreign grown (from Mexico, Peru, China and India). Let’s always try to buy New Mexico grown chiles.

I hope you try and enjoy all of these delicious Hatch chile recipes from Emily.