Oaxacan Eggplant Spread
This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.
They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.
3 lb medium eggplants (about 3)
2 fresh poblano chiles
1 to 2 fresh habanero chiles
1/3 cup finely chopped white onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (preferably Key lime)
Accompaniment: warm corn tortillas or tortilla chips
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas) see “Grilling Procedure,” and cooks’ notes, below.
Prick eggplants in several places with a fork.
Grill eggplants and chiles, covered only if using a gas grill, turning frequently with tongs, until chile skins are blistered and slightly charred and eggplants are charred all over and very soft, 5 to 6 minutes for habaneros, 10 to 12 minutes for poblanos, 18 to 20 minutes for eggplants.
Transfer chiles as cooked to a large bowl cover and let stand 20 minutes. Cool eggplants to warm, about 15 minutes.
While eggplants cool, carefully rub off skins from chiles. Stem, seed, and devein chiles, then chop. Transfer to a large bowl.
Peel eggplants and drain in a colander 10 minutes. Coarsely chop and add to chiles along with onion, cilantro, lime juice, and 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste). Stir well.
Spread can be made 1 day ahead chill, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Eggplants and chiles can be cooked in a hot large (2-burner) ridged grill pan (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat, about 8 minutes for habaneros, 20 minutes for poblanos, 20 to 30 minutes for eggplants.
Serves 6 as a snack.