Baked Jalapenos Rellenos with Roasted Chile Salsa
Sep 12, 2007 by bartolimu | 0 Comments| Share it:
- Jalapeno peppers For the rellenos, the biggest jalapenos you can find.
- serrano peppers
- pasilla peppers
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 tomatillos
- 1 lime
- manchego cheese (manchego is a mild, soft melting cheese common in mexican cooking)
- 3 eggs
- fresh cheese (see below)
"But wait!" you say, "I don't HAVE any fresh cheese!" Well then I guess we're just going to have to MAKE some! How to make cheese We'll need a quart of whole milk and some lemons. Pour the milk into a non-reactive saucepan. Aluminum is not non-reactive, but anodized aluminum is apparently fine for this. Juice two lemons using your favorite Juice Extraction System. Strain the juice to get rid of pulp and seeds, then set it aside for a moment. Throw a thermometer into your saucepan, and heat the milk to 180 degrees (F), stirring constantly. Once you're up to temp, reduce the heat to Low and pour in the lemon juice. Immediately stir. You will notice your milk has mysteriously curdled, and bits of milk protein are clinging to your whisk. Do not panic, this is normal. Hold the milk at 160-180 degrees for five minutes or so, stirring it frequently. Make sure it doesn't scorch or get too hot.
This next step takes some specialized hardware. We need to separate the tiny curds, which are basically nascent cheese, from the whey, or thin white liquid. In order to do this we will employ cheesecloth - or actually, a reasonable facsimile. I have elected to use a double thickness of sparging bag, a remnant from my home brewing days. Feel free to use any clean, semi-sturdy, very fine mesh cloth to do the straining for you. Put your cheesecloth into a colander, and the whole assembly into the sink. Pour the hot milk mixture into the cheesecloth-lined colander. Realize that your old, faithful digital camera has finally decided to give up the ghost and refuse to deploy its lens when being turned on. Go and get a new one; this should allow ample time for the cheese to separate from the whey. When you return, this is what your cheese will look like: Use a spoon to scrape the fragile little curds into the middle, forming a pile of fresh cheesy goodness.
Now pick up your cheesecloth and carefully squeeze the curds with your pudgy little hands, extracting a bit more moisture from them. Your queso fresco is ready. Put it in a bowl and get ready to rock.
To start the salsa, take one of your two tomatoes. Cut it in half top to bottom, then remove and discard the seeds and core. Dice this tomato up into what you feel is an appropriate size. I shoot for about 1cm squares. Put it in a bowl with a little kosher salt to await the rest of the ingredients for your salsa.
Off we go to the grill! Throw the other tomato, the tomatillos, and the chilies on the grill and give them a good roasting. The best part about roasting the tomato is that it peels really easily - frequently while still on the grill. The tomatillos should change color, becoming more brown and less green, as they cook. The chilies need to have a fairly even black tone to them to make peeling easier. When everything is done, put it in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a plate to let the skins steam off.
When they're cool, the roasted chilies should peel very easily. I recommend gloves for handling chilies like this. Cut them in half lengthwise, then slice delicately under the seed body to remove. The more careful you are to not remove much of the underlying membrane, the more heat will be left in the chile. Cut up the chilies and put them in the bowl with the raw tomato. Continue the dis-assembly with the roasted tomato. All those juices are great flavor, so be sure to save them. Take off the tomatillo skin and chop roughly. It'll mostly fall apart anyhow. Throw everything (except the skins) into the bowl and juice a lime over it.
And now, to the rellenos. Back to the grill, and take your jalapenos with you! Same treatment with grilling and peeling. But we need these guys whole, so don't seed them the same way. Instead, make a long incision down one side of each chile. Sometimes a chile will crack or split during the roasting process; if that happens, just use that as your opening. Now, carefully so you don't rip open the chile any more, pull out the seed body. If you need to use a small knife to scrape/cut the guts out, feel free. When you are done, you will be left with mostly-intact, stuff-able jalapenos.
It's time for the manchego. Cut off a nice-sized hunk of it. Cut it into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes. Drop those cubes of manchego into the bowl with your queso fresco and toss to combine.
Stuff your recent surgical survivors with the tasty mixture of cheeses. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll want it ready soon.
This next step will be made much easier by the wonders of technology. Take one mixer with whisk attachment. Separate your eggs. The whites go in the mixing bowl.
And your yolks go in a different bowl, where they get beaten to a thick, lemon-colored pulp.
Put the mixer on fairly high and let it whip up those egg whites.
You're looking for stiff peaks and a good solid white color, like this:
Now, pour the egg yolks on top of the whipped whites.
Why did we separate them? Because together, the fat in the yolks would prevent the whites from whipping up so nicely. Fold the yolks into the whites until they're mostly incorporated. Do not over-mix, as every stir breaks bubbles and brings your egg mixture closer to collapse.
Dip your stuffed jalapenos in this whipped mixture, getting a nice thick coat, and place them on a sheet pan.
Immediately put them in the oven and leave them there until they are Golden Brown and Delicious.
Serve with salsa and chips. Ooey, gooey, and delicious!
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