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There's a long tradition of combining poblano peppers with a cream base, and for good reason. This version, made with coconut milk, keeps it as simple as possible with gorgeous results. Roast the pepper, blend, and simmer the mixture briefly before letting it chill and thicken in the fridge. What you get for that bit of effort is a condiment that plays stunningly well with any flavors from your kitchen inspired by the food traditions of Latin America.

Drizzle it over a burrito or taco, mash it with beans for a pupusa filling, or pour it over a tortilla casserole—it's greater than the sum of its parts, and does not taste distractingly of coconut. Rather, the rich, fruity nature of coconut milk combined with the gently piquant hit of pepper makes for a sauce that adds seductive depth to the simplest of dishes, and pairs downright dreamily with the acidity of tomatoes.

You can take advantage of that fact by whipping up a little tofu ranchero dish for a sunny weeknight dinner. This version shows off fresh tortillas topped with the requisite salsa and a serving of simple seared tofu. The roasted poblano sauce adds richness and really brings the whole dish together.

For a fully fresh, homemade, low-key brunch for four, make your salsa and poblano sauce a day or two in advance. Sip a mimosa while you chat and make the tortillas. While the griddle is still hot, cook the tofu all in one batch. Munch away.

For a breezy dinner that's even fast enough to make for breakfast, saute a couple cups cooked beans with a couple handfuls of mushrooms (and/or some leafy greens), plus some cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika. Add smoked salt, if you have some lying around. When the mushrooms are tender, and everything's hot, melded, and smells irresistibly robust, remove the pan from heat and stir in a quarter-cup of chilled roasted poblano sauce. Serve with warm tortillas or toast, and finish the plate with a squeeze of lime.

Once you make a batch, you'll have no problem finding lots of other ways to put this stuff to work. And no one will blame you for doubling the recipe next time.

Roasted Poblano Coconut Sauce

Print the recipe

yields 3/4 - 1 cup (about 200 mg)

1 large poblano pepper

1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk

scant 1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

Heat the oven broiler with a rack in the top position.

Trim, seed, and halve the pepper lengthwise. Remove any thick membranes. Place peppers cut-side down under the heat sources, and broil until thoroughly blistered, 10-15 minutes. (Check the oven occasionally. If the broiler kicks off, open the door until it comes back on.)

Carefully add peppers to a small brown paper bag, or a small bowl covered tightly with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest 10 minutes. Peel off and discard blistered skins.

Transfer pepper, milk, and salt to a quart jar and blend thoroughly with an immersion blender. Transfer to a small pot, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat slightly to keep a strong simmer, and cook, stirring, five minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and store in the fridge in an airtight container, where the sauce will thicken, until ready to use.