Chiles roasting over an open flame is one of those scents that’s a harbinger of good things to come. Like garlic and onions cooking on the stove, like banana bread baking in the oven. If there’s one smell I don’t mind filling the house in the summer, it’s roasting chiles. When you’ve swapped 9 months of sunshine for 9 months of rain, the scent of chiles roasting is even more evocative of desert heat and warm, sunny days. The last few years more and more farmers markets in California have been doing chile roasts in August and September, and finally, Whole Foods will be doing a Hatch chile roast in Seattle, Portland and Bend, OR in a couple of weeks (yaaaaay!!!!!).
This was the first week for chiles at our farmers market — just jalapenos and poblanos. And with the season so short, you don’t have to tell me twice, it’s time to take advantage. In Italian, there’s actually a word for this, scorpacciata. The idea is that you eat as much as you can of an ingredient in its peak season. Mario Batali explains it here. I love that scorpacciata isn’t so much about gorging yourself, it’s having something at its best, and it’s also effectively preparing for the next season’s ingredients. By the fall, you don’t miss peaches or tomatoes or blueberries (too much) because you’ve had your fill.
So for poblanos, we’ll start with roasted poblanos with ricotta, mint and cilantro.
Roasted Poblanos with Ricotta, Mint & CilantroPrint Recipe
- 3 fresh poblanos
- 3 green onions, white parts and about an inch of the green, sliced down the middle and then crosswise
- 2 T. cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 T. mint, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 c. fresh ricotta
Roast the poblanos over a gas flame until well charred. If you don't have a gas stove, you can also do these under the broiler. When roasted, put the poblanos in a bowl and cover with Saran wrap/cling film and let sit for 15 minutes to steam and loosen the skins. Peel off the charred skin and discard. Do NOT wash off the skins. Cut poblanos into 1/4 in. pieces.
In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta, green onions, mint and cilantro. Mix in poblanos and season with salt. Serve with warmed corn tortillas or tortilla chips. Yellow corn complements the flavors better, but either will do.
Adapted from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors