Say what? Say Chee-POH-tlay. Definition: smoked jalapeños.
In any given Mexican supermarket, the proportion of aisle space given over to canned chiles and peppers is mind-boggling. This is even more amazing when you realize how much space in the produce section is given to fresh chiles not to mention the truly mysterious section devoted to dried chiles. Given that just one or two of these canned jalapeños or serranos is more than enough for most recipes, one does wonder what THEY do with them all!
Given the American obsession with Mexican food, it is really bizarre to realize that the only “chiles” US cooks can readily buy in the “Mexican section” of their supermarket are jalapeños and the ubiquitous “green chiles” brought to us by Ortega or El Paso. America’s canned “green chiles” are Anaheims, grown in California. You can’t even buy a canned chile that mild here!
Chipotles are smoked jalepeño peppers, usually canned in adobo sauce. I looked for canned chipotles in every market I got into when I was back in the States, from LA to Gourmet Gallery in St. Thomas, because I figured I just hadn’t noticed them because I wasn’t looking. But, except as an ingredient in some prepared salsas, they’re not there. Yet. The fact that they are appearing in gourmet-type prepared food means the way is being paved. Make a note: buy the smallest can you can; a little goes a long way!
Katherine of The Good Neighbor exposed us to chipotles the first time in a marinade she was trying out on lobster tails. Wow! About a month later, Lisa of Lady Galadriel brought a “Southwestern Caesar Salad with Chipotle Dressing” to a potluck. Several weeks after that Lisa used a slightly different chipotle marinade on some shrimp we bought off the season’s first trawlers!
If you can find some canned chipotles, try these recipes!
TGN’s Chipotle Marinade for Lobster
2 canned chipotle chiles
in adobo sauce (that’s 2 chiles,
not two cans!)
Using a fork and knife, gently slit chiles and remove the seeds. Mince the chiles and mix with other ingredients.
After marinating the lobster tails, Boil the remaining marinade for 2-3 minutes for extra sauce for the table. Grill the lobsters!
Lady G’s Chipotle Marinade for Shrimp
2 tablespoons chipotle peppers, pureed
Marinate shrimp for 30 minutes to an hour. Thread shrimp onto skewers and grill a few minutes per side. (Note: You could also stir-fry the shrimp. I have.)
Southwestern Caesar Salad with Chipotle Dressing
Wisk all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.
Mix lettuce, tomatoes, corn kernels (1 small can, rinsed), red onion,
black beans (1 can rinsed) in large bowl. Add dressing and sprinkle
with Parmesan cheese and toss.