One of my pet peeves is the way in which grocery stores mislabel produce. This causes confusion, especially when people are new to an ingredient. The biggest mislabel is that of the sweet potato. This tuber can be white or orangey-red, looks like a thin potato, and is very common at Thanksgiving tables all across America. Sadly, this little guy has been called a yam for most of his existence in America. A yam is a very different product, and if you went actually looking for a yam would be disappointed to find the sweet potato in its place. Similarly, if you actually want a sweet potato and are given a yam instead, you probably wouldn’t know what to do with the thing. I digress, this is not a post about sweet potatoes.
Another commonly mislabeled ingredient is one of my favorites: the poblano pepper. It is often labeled as pasilla in grocery store shelves. Pasilla peppers are the dried version of a long, slender, and dark in color pepper. Poblano peppers (my favorite) are wide and dark, vibrant green. They are not dried (their dried counterparts are called ancho) and they are mild. They have just enough spice to lend a nice flavor to dishes, and you might have had them before in a dish called Chile Relleno. A mild pepper stuffed with cheese, battered, and deep fried? Yes please!
My buddy the poblano is what I use in this Corn Poblano Salad, and this dish is exclaimed over anytime I bring it along to a potluck. It is served cold or at room temperature, and makes a nice vegetable dish for spring and summer parties. Top with as much cotija cheese as you like (I like alot!) and eat straight out of the bowl. Or maybe serve a little to just yourself so as not to be rude. If you can’t find cotija cheese, feta is a decent substitute.
- 2 fresh poblano peppers (often labeled as pasilla)
- 1 very small red onion or 1 shallot
- 16 ounces corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- crumbled cotija cheese, to taste
- Place the poblano peppers directly on the flame of a stove or grill, and cook to blister all the skin, turning occasionally. About 5-7 minutes. Remove the peppers to a bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap to steam. Once the peppers have cooled, use a gloved hand to peel off all the blackened skin. Discard the skin, stem, and seeds.
- Dice the poblano peppers and red onion. Place in a serving bowl with the corn kernels and remaining ingredients. Toss to combine well. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preferences.