For this vegetarian queso fresco version of a chile relleno, epazote with its grassy punch makes all the difference. I like using queso fresco because it doesn’t melt and its milky flavor gets even more concentrated inside the chile, but feel free to experiment with any other cheese you have on hand. Cacique makes a great queso Oaxaca and queso fresco that works well with this recipe. Traditionally in Oaxaca, chiles rellenos are made with fresh chiles de agua. This recipe calls for Anaheim chiles, which are more readily available in the United States, but you can also use rehydrated chiles pasillas as a substitute.
To prepare the chiles, place them directly over your stove’s gas flame at its highest setting, turning constantly until charred on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Put the charred chiles in a medium bowl and cover with a large plate for a few minutes so the chiles can soften and steam. This will make peeling the burnt skin off easier.
Once the chiles are cool to the touch, use your fingertips to pull the charred skin back from each chile and discard the skin. Using a paring knife, make a small 2-inch (
Cut the queso into 2-inch strips and gently stuff inside chile. Once cheese is inside chile, stick an epazote leaf over the cheese and gently close the chile. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. While oil gets hot, in another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on high with a hand mixer until medium-stiff peaks form. Add 1 egg yolk at a time and continue to mix until the yolks are combined. Individually, toss each chile in a plate with the flour and dip each chile into the egg mixture to completely batter it.
Once the oil is bubbling hot, lower the heat to medium and, with a large slotted spoon, place the coated chiles in the oil and fry both sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Place on a large plate lined with paper towels to absorb any extra oil. Repeat this process until all the chiles have been battered and cooked. Serve immediately.
These chiles can also be stuffed with picadillo instead of cheese.
© 2019 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.