I’ve decided to start using more chiles in my cooking. Technically it’s a little early, seeing as the farmer’s market doesn’t really get started with their peppers for another few months…but oh well. Grocery store chiles, here I come.
Here’s a start: un-fried and un-battered chiles rellenos, using the very good looking and delicious poblano. I guess really there’s not much that’s Mexican about them, so you could use all kinds of delicious cheeses. Something smoked would go so well here–smoked mozzarella or cheddar, maybe even a smoked gouda. Or you could go with the softer cheeses like cream cheese or ricotta or maybe even brie. Why not try all of them together?
It is true that poblanos are pretty mild in the world of chile heat, but be extremely careful not to rub your eyes after you’ve de-seeded them. Even after a few hours, several hand washings, and a shower, it still hurt to take my contacts out! That capsaicin is tough stuff. (And, by the way, it doesn’t affect sharks–yet another reason they are so awesome.) The finished product doesn’t taste all that spicy because the fat in the cheese helps cut the spicy, plus you’re removing the seeds and ribs, which is where the heat lives.
- Poblano peppers
- Jack cheese
- Chihuahua cheese
Turn oven to 400 degrees. Put the whole peppers directly onto the top rack for about 6-8 minutes, until they have just barely started to soften. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Make a long slit lengthwise down the side of each pepper and let the steam out. Using a paring knife, remove the seeds and as much of the ribbing as you can.
Turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Cut the cheese into thin strips about 1/2 inch wide and stuff the peppers with as much cheese as will fit. You could also add beans, onions, or mushrooms to make them more substantial. Place on a baking sheet, slit side up, and bake until the cheese is melty and gooey–about 8-12 minutes.
Serve as a side dish with sour cream (helps cut the heat for those of you who are spicy-phobic), rice, or beans. Enjoy!