Roasted Poblano Chile Salad with smoked fish or chicken | Print |
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Serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar OR 4 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 pound (6 medium-large) fresh poblano chiles  
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon
  • About 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 4 sprigs for garnish (optional)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely shredded smoked fish (like whitefish or trout) OR 3/4 cup coarsely shredded smoked chicken
  • 16 small lettuce leaves, for lining the plates
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or pressed, salted farmer’s cheese
  1. Separate the red 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. 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 towel 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. In a large (10-to 12-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium to medium-high, add the white onion, and cook, stirring regularly, until nicely browned but still a little crunchy, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and oregano, toss a minute longer, then stir in the chiles and just heat through.  Taste and season with salt. Cool, if you’re not planning to serve the salad warm.
  4. 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.
  5. Line 4 plates with the lettuce leaves. Spoon 1/4 of your aromatic, spicy concoction into the center of each plate. Sprinkle with cheese and garnish with sprigs of thyme.