With some of our closest friends visiting from out of town, our fourth festivities turned into a long weekend of non-stop celebration. It was the perfect excuse to grab the fun ring and eat and drink more than we already do — sad to say it’s not so fun to grab my bikini right about now.
Our 4th of July spread was a menu of Americana classics — fried chicken, coleslaw, biscuits and potato salad. So, for the night before I decided to welcome our friends Santa Barbara style with a Mexican menu. These chiles rellenos were the hit of the evening.
The perfect relleno to me is warm on the inside, crispy and light on the outside. This rendition delivers with delicious results. There are a few steps here, but these are very simple to make if you take it one step at a time.
I like to plate them with a simple tomato sauce and a dollop of sour cream. This recipe serves 4-6 people, depending on if you plate one or two poblanos. I like to do one in a shallow bowl with the sauce and then put the extras on a platter for seconds.
Be aware that poblanos mix it up on the spice level. While mine was on the mild side, my husband’s was full throttle spicy. The good news is that they all have great flavor and you can serve some roasted salsa on the side for those that want more heat.
8 – 10 poblanos
6 eggs, separated
1 package mozzarella or Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup all-purpose flour
Canola or safflower oil
Tomato sauce – marinara or my easy fresh tomato sauce listed below.
Once the poblanos are peeled, make a slit in the side of the pepper, removing the seeds. Stuff the inside cavity with cheese. You want to fill them so they are full of cheese, but not busting out of that slit. The quantity of cheese used will depend on the size of your poblano — for me, it was about 1/2 cup each. Use a toothpick to close the slit so the cheese doesn’t escape when it’s time to fry.
After you’ve prepped your poblanos make the egg dip. Whip just the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. A hand mixer makes this step a snap. Then, add the yolks and mix until fully incorporated.
Now, put about 1 cup of all-purpose flour on a plate. Take each stuffed poblano and coat gently with flour on all sides. Then dip it completely into the egg mixture.
Heat 2″ of canola or safflower oil to 350 degrees on medium heat. Fry each poblano about two minutes a side until golden brown. Remove from the oil to paper towels and season with sea salt. You can keep them in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.
To serve, in individual shallow bowls or plates add a little bit of red sauce on the bottom. Place fried poblano on top of sauce and add a dollop of sour cream and bit of fresh basil or whatever seasonal herbs you have on hand. Any leftovers make a wonderful lunch the next day, but at our house, leftovers of these are rare.
Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce
Grab about 2 1/2 pounds of different types of tomatoes from the garden or market. Sauté them, and chunk up in a pan along with two cloves of garlic, salt, red pepper and two tablespoons of olive oil. Simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes and then puree till smooth.