Sunday, June 12, 2011

Avocado Poblano Sauce

So says wiki "It is common for people to experience pleasurable and even euphoriant effects from eating capsaicin-flavored foods." Such is the case with this recipe, which capitalizes on the capsaicin naturally present in a variety of peppers.

John experiments in the kitchen, unlike me. I like to begin with a particular end in mind, whereas he likes to explore a few directions and let the chips fall where they may. Sometimes his stuff great, sometimes it is regrettable (like the time he used left over Vietnamese take out black bean sauce in scrambled egg sandwiches...). This time, however, was the best, EVER.

Steak topped with Avocado Poblano Sauce, served on arugula with salted heirloom tomatoes
I have used this creamy, smoky, spicy-but-not-too-much-so, slightly sweet sauce on just about everything. It's like a really great fresh salsa combined with a really great taco sauce, topped with avocado slices...except easier. Sometimes I even add actual avocado slices to ante up the 'cado quotient. See below for a few usage ideas.

This recipe will yield about 2 cups, which, in my house, is gone in 5 days. For more info on heat measurements and chile identifications, check out this index.

2 Poblano peppers
1 New Mexico, Espanola, or Cubanelle chile (large, mild light green chile, similar to Anaheim but with thinner skin)
1 Seeded jalepeno
3 Thai or Bird's Eye chilis w/ seeds
3 Roma tomatoes
1/2 Avocado
Extra virgin olive oil
Ground chipotle powder

1. If you have sensitive skin, put on kitchen gloves. Then, de-stem all the peppers and the tomatoes.

2. Heat adjustment: the INSIDE of the peppers contain all the heat, thinks to capsaicin, which is a chemical compound found in the pith surrounding the seeds. The above recipe yields a medium-hot sauce. You may adjust up or down by including or excluding differing amounts of pepper innards.

3. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet to so-hot-it-is-almost-smoking (or use a grill) and roast all prepared peppers and tomatoes. Try for a nice char on the outside, as this will lend great flavor to the sauce. Try also to keep the insides from fully cooking, as partially raw veggies will add a fresh pico-like edge.

4. Add all roasted veggies to a food processor or blender. Add avocado and blend till you reach uniform consistency--sort of a runny salsa, but really whatever you desire. Add a splash of olive oild and lime juice with the motor running. Taste for seasoning and salt, pepper, and chipotle powder to taste.

5. Experiment with myriad uses, such as topping a turkey sandwich, topping tacos, as a dip for raw veggies, or...

Pan-fry green tomatoes in olive oil, top with sauce.

Spread over baked tofu, serve with grilled vegetables.

My favorite: spoon over scrambled egg whites, top with more avocado.

Thin sauce out with sherry vinegar, toss with salad greens.

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