Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tom's Chile Rellenos

What's the best thing in life besides family, friends and a cute dog? For me, it's a great chile relleno, that's what. These are peppers roasting at Billy's Garden at the University District Farmer's Market. The decadent treasures lure me with their smoky aroma that wafts through the market. The colors, the smoky flavors--these peppers are so good grilled you can put them on anything, but chile rellenos are at the top of the list for me.

Many people like the meek and mild Anaheim chiles, but for for me they're like a guy in a gra flannel suit--long, thin and boring. Nothing but poblanos will do. Poblanos harbor an element of surprise because they range from mild to mouth-watering hot. Mark Miller in The Great Chile Book says roasting gives the poblano a fuller, smoky more earthy flavor."

Just in case the heat might overwhelm us, I cook a pot of rice or beans. You could also have a bit of plain yogurt on the side, but never try and douse the flames with water, that just spreads it around. And be sure and wash your hands after handling the seeds because the oil clings to your fingers. I've been in tears over those little seeds after touching my eyes.

You can find most of the other ingredients locally, too. The eggs came with my CSA from Stoney Plains and the cheese came from Appel Farms

I laid out all my market finds for this dinner and guess who showed up? He hasn't started the long drool just yet, but he certainly has his eye on the cheese. He has no idea the heat in this cheese will bite him back.

If you need to preroast your fresh chiles, set the oven temperature for about 450 degrees. Put the chiles on a baking sheet and turn with long tongs when each side blackens.

This is Tom's speciality in the kitchen. My job is easy, leave the kitchen, take Finn next door to drop off a few Rama peaches for my neighbors.

Tom's Chile Rellenos

6 to 8 chiles, roasted with seeds and stem removed

6 to 8 slices of cheese (about 3-inches long)

6 tablespoons flour

3 or 4 extra large egg (use 3 for 6 chiles and 4 for 8)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Safflower oil* (use enough to make 1/2 inch oil in the frying pan; don't skimp on oil)

1.Stuff each chile with a slice of cheese. It should fill the inside of the chile.

2. Measure 4 tablespoons of flour onto a plate and dip each chile in flour. Set aside. Reserve the remaining two tablespoons of flour.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the whites and place the whites into a stainless steel or glass bowl. It doesn't matter what kind of bowl the yolks are placed in. Beat the two tablespoons of flour into the yolks. With an electric mixer beat the whites until stiff peaks form.

4. Gently fold the yolk mixture into the stiff whites.

5. Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium frying pan. Dip the stuffed chiles into the egg mixture and fry in hot oil until the bottoms are golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. Allow about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

6. Transfer the chile rellenos to a towel-covered plate (not terry cloth) so they can drain. Serve with refried beans and salsa.

And this is what it looks like--the greens are from Willie Green's Organic Farm; the tomatoes from Grouse Mountain Farm; the cucumbers from Nash's Organic Produce and the black beans from the Alvaraz Farm. The salsa came from Austin,Texas--the best place in the world for hot sauce.

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