Saturday, April 23, 2005

Roasted Poblano Guacamole

Roasted Poblano Guacamole with Garlic and Parsley

2 medium (about 6 ounces total) fresh poblano chiles
6 ounces (1 medium round or 2 plum) ripe tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons chopped flatleaf parsley
3 medium-large ripe avocados
Salt to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons finely crumbled Mexican queso anejo, or other dry grating cheese like Romano or Parmesan
Radish slices for garnish

Preheat the broiler. Place the poblanos, tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet. Set the sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler. Roast, turning every couple of minutes, until the chiles and tomatoes are soft, blistered and blackened in spots and the garlic is soft, 12 to 13 minutes total.

Place the chiles in a bowl, cover them with a towel, and let them stand 5 minutes, then wipe off the blackened skin. Pull or cut out the stems, seed pods and seeds; rinse quickly to remove any stray seeds and bits of char.

When the tomatoes are cool, peel off and discard their skins.

Slip the papery skins off the garlic.

In a mortar or with a food processor, make a coarse puree of the roasted garlic and poblanos (with both mortar and processor, it's best to start with the garlic, then add the poblanos); place the puree in a large bowl.

Chop the roasted tomatoes (for this recipe it's best not to use any of the juice from the baking sheet) and add to the poblano mixture along with the parsley.

Cut the avocados in half lengthwise around the pit, twist the halves apart, and remove the pits. Scoop out the flesh into the bowl with the flavorings. Using a potato masher or the back of a large spoon, coarsely mash everything together. Taste and season with salt, usually a scant teaspoon, then add enough lime juice to enliven all the flavors.

Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface, and refrigerate until you're ready to eat.

To serve, scoop the guacamole into a decorative bowl or Mexican mortar, sprinkle with the queso anejo and stud it with radish slices.

COOK'S NOTE: The roasted poblanos, tomatoes and garlic can be made a day or so in advance, but don't puree them until you are ready to make guacamole. The guacamole is best finished about 30 minutes before you need it, so the flavors can mingle. It will keep several hours tightly covered in the refrigerator; add the cheese and radish slices at the last moment.

From Rick Bayless, chef and owner of Topolobambo and Frontera Grill, Chicago

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