adding flavor without the fat - chiles

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The most intense heat of the fresh chile pepper is in its seeds and in the white ribs running vertically inside the chile. Unless you like very potent heat, remove the seeds and cut away the white ribs before using fresh chiles. In dried chiles, the intensity of the seeds is even more pronounced.

Chiles, either minced fresh, crushed dried, or powdered, make great marinade ingredients, especially with other ingredients such as citrus juice, cilantro, ginger, garlic, etc. Moderation is the key, especially when using very-hot chiles. Seafood doesn't need to marinate for long anyway, and when it comes to chile-laced marinades, 5-10 minutes should be plenty.

Don't confuse chili powder with powdered chiles. Chili powder is a seasoning mixed that is used to make chili generally it includes dried chiles, oregano, cumin and garlic. Powdered chile is dried chile peppers crushed into a fine powder, often specific to a particular variety, but sometimes simply labeled as "mild", "medium", etc. chile powder.

Roasting chiles not only tempers the heat slightly, it brings out a touch of sweetness and adds a smoky flavor. Roasting also makes it easy to peel away the skin, which can have a bitter aftertaste.

You can roast a chile under the broiler or on a charcoal grill. Set the pepper a few inches from the heat until the skin is blistered and black, turning the chile occasionally so that it roasts evenly. You can also roast a chile over a gas flame, holding it in a pair of long-handled tongs or stuck on a long fork.

Place the roasted chile in a paper or plastic bag, close the top and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The chile will sweat in the bag, making it much easier to peel away the skin. When cool enough to handle, peel away the skin, cut out the core, and remove the white ribs and seeds.

Simply Seafood Spring 1995

Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 06-18-95

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