I'm pretty good at handling my heat, and the jalapeños I buy around town never seem to be all that hot, so I scoffed when the weekly Harvest Identifier warned me to "wear rubber gloves or even small plastic bags over your hands" when handling hot peppers. Puh-lease. Well. I think Farmer Rich is growing a different breed of jalapeño because that pretty little pepper got the last laugh on this one. Not long after I had diced up my pepper I started to feel the burn on my right hand. Shortly thereafter my cheek started up, and then my upper lip. Pretty soon half my face and my entire right hand were on FIRE.
I rinsed in cool water. I washed repeatedly with hot, soapy water. I doused myself in lime juice. I tried to wait it out. Niente. Finally, I turned to the internet. A rinse with apple cider vinegar reduced the burn a bit, but sour cream was the real savior. Except that bathing myself in sour cream made for a slightly nauseating end to my meal...
Ironically, the corn salad that I made with the offending pepper ended up on the mild side. It was, however, still delicious.
An appropriately simple list of ingredients: sweet corn, onion, hot pepper, salt, lime, cilantro
Start with 4 ears of sweet corn (preferably fresh from your local farmer's market!). Shuck the corn and remove the kernels from the cob. A large chef's knife is the best tool for this and it's wise to cut into some sort of container or half of your kernels will end up flying all over your kitchen. Even if you cut into a container, quite a few of your kernels are likely to end up flying all over the kitchen. Unless, of course, you are more skilled than me -- in which case, please share your secret!
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 1 small onion, diced (Ms. Waters calls for a red onion -- I didn't have one so I used whatever variety I had picked up at the farmer's market that day) and 1 small hot chile, diced. I also threw in half of a sweet pepper, also diced. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes to soften and add salt to taste. Cook for another minute, then turn the heat up to medium-high and add the corn. Cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until the corn is cooked. Add a splash of water if you need it to moisten the mixture and cook the corn (I was a bit heavy-handed and my splash was more like a good pour, so I just let it cook for a few extra minutes until the extra liquid had cooked off. No biggie.) Finish it off with a good dose of lime juice and some chopped cilantro. Taste and season with extra salt and lime juice, if needed.
This was delicious warm, right out of the pan and also great as a cold side with last night's dinner. I haven't decided how I'll finish off the rest of it, but I'm thinking it would be great in a salad, incorporated into some kind of Latin-inspired egg dish, served with grilled hanger steak or tossed with some chopped avocado.
Just, seriously, be careful with those chiles!