Roasted Poblano Chile Salad with Smoked Beef

INGREDIENTS:1 small red onion, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
6 Tbsps. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp. salt

Roasted Poblano Rajas
2 lbs. fresh poblano chiles
2 Tbsps. vegetable or olive oil
2 large white onions, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 tsps. fresh thyme, chopped (optional)
8 sprigs fresh thyme, for garnish (optional)
1 ½ cups smoked beef, coarsely shredded
32 small lettuce leaves, for lining plates
½ cup Mexican queso fresco, crumbled or salted farmer’s cheese, pressedDIRECTIONS:1. Separate the red onion into rings, then mix with the vinegar in a bowl and let stand for 15-20 minutes.

2. For Roasted Poblano Rajas: Roast chiles directly over a gas flame or 4 inch below a very hot broiler, turning until blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes for open flame, 10 minutes for broiler. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. Peel, pull out the stem and seed pod, then rinse briefly to remove bits of skin and seeds. Slice into ¼ inch strips.

3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat, add the white onion, and cook, stirring regularly, until nicely browned but still a little crunchy, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano, toss a minute longer, then stir in the chiles and just heat through. Taste and season with salt. Cool, if not planning to serve the salad warm.

4. Add the red onion mixture to the rajas. Stir in the optional chopped thyme and beef. Taste and season with more salt, if needed. Line plates with lettuce leaves. Spoon one quarter of mixture in the center of each plate, sprinkle with cheese and garnish with thyme sprigs if desired. Serve with warm tortillas.
SERVINGS:8 servingsFrom:Submitted Lars Kronmark, Chef/Instructor, Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St. Helena, CA