Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bean Salad with Czech Black Dressing

Dried Czech Black Chiles

I haven't been sure how to use the Czech Black chiles that I grew this year. They don't have much punch when used fresh. Their flesh seems to have no heat, just a touch in the seeds and ribs, and they don't really have a distinctive flavor. Rather than just give up on them I've been drying them. Just a form of procrastination I suppose, wait until later to toss them when I can't figure out a use for them.

So, when I set about making a salad with the last of my Ojo de Cabra beans from Rancho Gordo I put a couple of whole dried Czech Blacks into the bean cooking pot. The pot liquor didn't pick up much chile flavor though. But, I still didn't give up on them. The pods had softened but not split or fallen apart so I removed the stems, cut the pods open, removed the seeds, and then scraped the softened flesh from the skins. Then I pureed the flesh with some sherry vinegar and a clove of garlic from the pot of beans and incorporated that into a dressing with olive oil, ground cumin, and dried oregano. The salad consisted of the beans, some cut-up leftover roast chicken, sliced celery, thin sliced red onion, and cherry tomato halves. Wow, it was really tasty! The chiles added a very pleasant, subtle warmth. Still didn't have a distinctive chile flavor, but the warmth was just sooo perfect.

I might have to try soaking a few more chiles and making some chile paste to warm up some other dishes. But first I am going to try one more thing with the fresh pods - stuffing them, with something, I don't know what yet. Hmmm, I wonder how they would taste pickled?

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