If you ask the vendors at the Farmer's market about the relative hot-ness of the chiles they sell, they will inevitably tell you that they're either "mild" or "medium hot" ... or they'll say something along the lines of, "you can never tell, they might be mild but sometimes you get a hot one."
I figured the only way to decide which ones were for me was to taste my way through the farmer's market during the season.
These are Padrones. They originated in Spain and are quite mild. I like them prepared simply, blistered in a hot pan with a little olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt–Bon Appetit's recipe is here.
The Japanese Shishito chiles are also quite mild and lovely.
There are a lot of varieties being roasted at the farmer's market and in parking lots all over Santa Fe.
Most of the chiles at the farmer's market are identified in some way. Sometimes a grower will confess, "I don't remember what kind of seeds we planted." Most come with some sort of signage.
Some of the names are regional, some have an appended, "improved." The Alcalde Improved that have become a favorite of mine are derived from Espinola Improved. The name is, in part, regional and also reflects the growers selection process.
These red beauties came home for their taste test this week. They're sweet peppers and not chiles at all ... but I couldn't resist them.
I plan to use them in a version of a recipe I found on Kate's blog, Black Pepper Tofu.
The peppers below aren't chiles either, but aren't the colors glorious?