Daunting as it may seem, a salad that stars fiery chili peppers will illicit an encore!
Stripping away some of the seeds and membranes of any chili pepper will unveil a unique taste that is pure chili… and then …add the elegance of soft, sweet, and fragrant pears …
a sweet and savoury blend of contrasts and conundrums.
The thought of habaneros and red chilis in the vinaigrette may incite a bit of fear – but if the finely minced chilies are immersed in the acid of the lime juice and vinegar for a time, it seems that they become a bit more civilized and contribute to a intensely flavourful vinaigrette. The amount of chilies in the vinaigrette can be adjusted to suit your taste – remembering that the heat comes from the seeds and the membranes.
And then, it is the queso fresco that brings some sense of sanity to the craziness.
Chili Peppers and Pears Salad
Number of Servings: 4
1/2 of a poblano pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
1/2 of an Anaheim pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
1 red sweet pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped green onions
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped or thinly sliced red onions
1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced
1 or 2 ripe pears (Bosc, Bartlette, Asian, or Anjou) unpeeled, cored, thinly sliced
Red leaf lettuce, or butter lettuce
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup queso fresco cheese – or crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon (5 mL) lime zest
1 tablespoon pear vinegar, white balsamic, or white wine vinegar – or a combination
1/4 teaspoon (1.5 mL) very finely minced habanero pepper – about 1/3 of a habanero (seeded)
1/4 teaspoon (1.5 mL) very finely minced red Thai chili pepper (1 pepper – seeded)
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon (5 mL) honey
4- 5 tablespoons (60-75 mL) extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
Sea salt; freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare vinaigrette: Combine lime juice, lime zest, vinegar(s), habanero, and Thai chili pepper in a small bowl. Let this sit for a short time (15 minutes or so). Whisk in mustard, and honey. Whisk in oil until thick. Season to taste.
- Place all peppers, onions, and celery in a large salad bowl. Add pear slices.
- Add the lettuce. Fold in some queso fresco cheese and chopped cilantro.
- Pour vinaigrette over salad ingredients. Gently toss.
- Serve with extra queso fresco cheese and chopped cilantro over all.