Originating from South America, jalapeño peppers vary in heat from mild to very hot. Apart from their spicy kick, young green jalapeños offer a crisp, fresh flavor, while ripe, red peppers impart a sweeter taste.
TRY: Grilled Fish Tacos with Jalapeño Slaw
This mild, unripe cheese imparts a salty flavor. It's often used as a filling for quesadillas and enchiladas and makes a welcomed addition to soups and sauces.
TRY: Skillet Spanish Chicken & Rice
PICO DE GALLO
A fresh combination of ingredients that typically include tomatoes, cilantro, red onion and lime juice. This sweet yet zesty condiment adds Mexican flair to anything, from salads to eggs.
TRY: Black Beans with Pico De Gallo
CHIPOTLE CHILE IN ADOBO SAUCE
Chipotle peppers - dried, smoked jalapeños - are hot like their parent peppers but earthier. The Mexican staples come canned in adobo, a marinade made of paprika, garlic, oregano and vinegar.
TRY: Mexican Noodle Casserole
The tart gooseberry relative looks like a light green tomato with a paper-like husk. Tomatillo is the star ingredient in salsa verde (green salsa), a mouthwatering taco topping.
TRY: Striped Bass with Tomatillo Sauce
This rich gravy combines dried chiles and chocolate (to help balance the heat) with a variation of herbs, spices, tomatoes and/or tomatillos, dried fruit, bread and nuts.
TRY: Mole Chicken Chile