Rick Bayless has made my summer. His recipes enable the home cook to take Mexican cooking to soaring new heights with authenticity. This week I made the most delicious vegetable enchilada dish – tender swiss chard, caramelized red onion and sauteed mushrooms were rolled into tortillas and doused with a tomatillo-fresh corn sauce, lightly sprinkled with Mexican queso fresco cheese. In my excitement over the dish and our very eager appetites that evening, I failed to remember to snap a shot before devouring my plate! But fear not fellow foodies – because the week prior I made this deeply flavorful roasted poblano salmon recipe and have this lovely photo to show for it!
Poblanos are mild chiles so while this dish isn’t hot, the rich flavor of the roasted poblanos really shines. It’s a healthy dish thanks to the addition of a generous amount of spinach plus red bell pepper. I used skim milk since the recipe didn’t specify whole milk and skim is what we have in the house. Though I imagine whole milk would make the sauce even more velvety and richer.
I’ve found that tracking down poblanos in mainstream stores can be hit or miss. Sometimes I see them at Fairway, among the other chili peppers. Usually I don’t see them at WholeFoods. For this dish, I sought out the most fantastic Mexican market near the East Norwalk train station which you can read about here to get them. There I was told that during lent, Mexicans make a traditional dish using poblanos so during lent it’s easier to find them in mainstream markets. Rick says you could substitute nearly any mild chili for the poblano here – cubanelles, bell peppers, anaheims – but he warns that none will ‘hold a candle’ to the roasted poblano.
And now for some non-food-related news and special thanks to my incredibly gifted, patient, good-natured husband, for without him this blog post would not have been possible. On Friday I downloaded (by accident) the nastiest computer worm virus possible. Laptop city was completely shut down. It took David the whole of the weekend and countless trials and tribulations to wipe my hard-drive clean and re-install all my programs one by one. So this post goes out to him, with many many thanks! And on that note – should you ever be innocently browsing the net and receive a pop-up stating your computer suddenly contracted WORM and you will be in big big trouble unless you download Windows ‘Defender’ immediately – DO NOT CLICK. So-called ‘Defender’ IS the WORM. Browser beware, because had my hubby’s profession been anything but data security you dear readers would have had to wait a long, long time for this delicious post.
roasted poblano salmon
- 2 fresh poblano chiles
- 1 red bell pepper
- 10 oz spinach or baby spinach
- 3 Tbs vegetable oil or olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 1-2 Tbs Masa Harina (Mexican corn flour) or All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 4 6oz pieces salmon
1. Roast the poblanos over an open flame or under the broiler, turning often, until blistered and blackened, about 5 minutes over the flame, 10 minutes under the broiler. Place in a bowl, cover with a towel and let cool. At the same time, roast the red pepper until blistered and blackened all over, (this will take about 5-10 minutes longer than the poblanos). Put in small bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let steam 10 minutes. Allow to cool and peel off skin, remove stem and seeds and slice into strips. Set roasted red pepper strips aside.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and slightly browned, about 4 minutes. Scoop the garlic into a blender.
3. Rub the blackened skin off the cooled poblanos. Pull out stems and seeds. Rinse under running water to remove any remaining bits of blackened skin. Roughly chop and add to blender, along with masa harina or flour and milk. Blend until smooth.
4. Return skillet to medium-high. Pat fish dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides of fish lightly with salt and pepper. Lay the fillets in skillet skin side up and cook 4 minutes. Flip and cook second side 2-3 minutes more, depending on thickness of fillets. Remove fish to a plate.
5. With skillet still over medium-high, pour poblano mixture into skillet and whisk until it comes to a boil and thickens, 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and simmer sauce to blend flavors, 5 minutes. Add the spinach to the sauce and let wilt. Add red pepper strips into sauce. Plate salmon and spoon sauce over. Serve with rice.
Recipe from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless