Ripening Poblano Peppers
May 26th, 2011, by Alex Zorach
These Poblano peppers were for sale at the Newark, Delaware farmer's market.
I had never noticed ripe (red) or ripening Poblanos for sale before I saw these, so I jumped at the opportunity to try these out. Poblano peppers will naturally ripen to a rich red color, but they are typically consumed unripe, where they have a blackish-green color, much darker than a typical green bell pepper and slightly lighter than a Chilaca pepper.
I picked the ripest two peppers that were still fresh looking, and experimented with eating them both raw and cooked. They had a very strange flavor, sweet like a bell pepper, but with a strong and deep bitterness, leaving a very strange aftertaste, especially when eaten raw. I can see why people would prefer to eat them in their green form. However, I got the idea of using them as an ingredient in a marinara sauce for pasta, after sauteeing them in olive oil. The result was outstanding: the strange bitterness which was unpleasant on its own imparted a depth and richness to the sauce which was very satisfying.
I look forward to buying these peppers again. They were difficult to use, but once I found how to use them effectively, they were very powerful and pleasing.