|Ophelia’s chiles rellenos are the best on the island. They are almost always gone by mid-lunch, so don’t wait! The tomato sauce can be prepared one day in advance.
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup water
Salt to taste
In a pan, sauté the tomatoes, half the onion, and the garlic in 1 tablespoon of the oil for 10 minutes. When cool enough, purée the mixture in a blender with the water until smooth. Meanwhile, sauté the rest of the onion in the rest of the oil over medium heat until browned and soft. Add the purée and cook, covered, over low heat for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
1 1/3 cup prepared tomato sauce
4 poblano chiles, roasted and peeled
12 ounces Mexican white melting cheese (i.e. Supremo’s Oxaca), cubed
Canola oil for deep-frying
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature
4 tablespoons feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Slice off and reserve the caps of the poblano chiles. Carefully seed and rinse the chiles, keeping them whole. Stuff each chile with the cheese and secure the caps with at least 4 toothpicks each. In a deep pan or wok, heat oil (enough to cover chiles halfway) to 350 degrees F.
While the oil heats, mix the flour, salt and pepper into a shallow bowl. In a separate small bowl whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the yolks to the whites and whisk until blended.
Just before frying, dip each pepper into the egg and then the flour, covering completely. Lightly shake the pod to remove the excess flour, and carefully return to the egg mixture. Use a spoon to cover the pepper with egg once again, and then return to the flour mixture for a second coating. Shake gently to remove any excess. (This "double dipping" will ensure that the flour sticks and provides an extra crispy coating.)
Using tongs, gently place the pepper in the hot oil. Take care, as it will splatter. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until browned. Turn the pepper once and cook 3-5 minutes more, until browned. Take care not to overcook or the cheese will escape. Drain the cooked peppers on a rack over paper towels for a minute.
To serve, ladle 1/3 cup prepared tomato sauce on a plate and place a chile on top. Garnish with ½ tablespoon heavy cream, 1 tablespoon feta and ½ tablespoon chopped cilantro. Serve with plenty of Ophelia’s Habanero Salsa (recipe below).
Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Mild to Medium