|Roasted Poblano Chile Salad with Smoked Fish or Chicken|
Across Central and West-Central Mexico bowls of chile strips, often roastes poblanos mixed with half-pickled onions, show up on tables to offer a spicy accent to a fried steak or soft taco. That wonderfully textured combination- soft, spicy chile against sharp, crunchy onion- makes an easy transition into an elegant first course or light main dish, especially when tossed with smoked chicken or fish and nestled in lettuce. In winter, I put the salad together with the chiles still warm. For causual summer entertaining, it's great as a cold buffet dish.
Though a crusty bolillo roll would be the typical accompaniment to a salad elegantly served in Mexico, I'd still choose warm corn tortillas. And a beer seems less appropriate to me here than does chilled Hermitage blanc (or other Rhone or Rhone-style white- Viognier, Marsanne, Rousanne) or full Sauvignon Blanc.For 2 cups Essential Roasted Poblano Rajas:
1. "Deflaming" the raw onion. Separate the onion into rings, then mix with the vinegar in a small bowl and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes (this takes away some of their bite).
2. Making 2 cups Essential Poblano Rajas. Roast the chiles directly over a gas flame or 4 inches below a very hot
broiler, turning until blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes for open flame, about 10 minutes for broiler.
Cover with a kitchen towl and let stand 5 minutes. Peel, pull out the stem and seed pod, then rinse briefly to
remove bits of skin and seeds. Slice into 1/4-inch strips.
3. Finishing the salad. Add the red onion mixture to the rajas. Stir in the optional chopped thyme and fish or chicken. Taste and season with a little more salt if needed.
Line 4 plates with the lettuce leaves. Spoon 1/4 of your aromatic, spicy concoction in the center of each plate, sprinkle with cheese and garnish with sprigs of thyme if you have them. Set them before you guests and pass warm tortillas.
Serves 2 as main dish, 4 for appeitzer.
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