Jack Nicholson's Chiles Rellenos
For the sauce:
1/2 clove of garlic, pressed
1 large green pepper, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and minced
2 tbsps. vegetable oil
One 1 lb. 12-oz. can tomatoes
3 tbsps. tomato puree
1/4 tsp. oregano
6 coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, ground
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Saute garlic, green pepper and onion in vegetable oil until vegetables begin to soften. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer slowly over medium heat until thickened (about 1/2 hour), stirring often. Correct seasonings. Makes about 2 cups sauce.
For the peppers:
One large can chili peppers jalapeno (available in gourmet section of supermarket or Spanish-Mexican food shops)
1/2 lb. cheese (sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack), chopped
4 eggs, separated
Pinch of salt and few gratings of freshly ground pepper
Shortening for deep fat frying
1. Remove peppers, remove seeds. Fill each pepper carefully with cheese; set aside.
2. Prepare batter as follows:
Beat egg yolks and set aside. Beat egg whites until they start to stiffen, add salt and mix well. Fold beaten yolks into beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not deflate the whites. Pour vegetable oil (or melt shortening) in skillet (or deep fat fryer) so shortening is about 3 inches deep in pan. Heat fat to 375 degrees F. Pour large cooking spoon of batter into heated shortening (it will stand up). Immediately place stuffed pepper on top of batter in skillet. Drop another large cooking spoon of batter on top of the stuffed pepper, spreading it with the rubber spatula to cover the sides and encase the pepper. Cook, turning several times until golden. Drain on absorbent paper. To serve, top with tomato sauce. Serves 4.
Thoughts: For other fillings, use chopped chorizo flavored with minced cooked onion and rice; "herbed" partially cooked chopped beef, ham and whole kernel corn or other leftover fish or poultry.
The secret to success is speed. Heat shortening hot enough so egg batter (keep thick enough so it will stand up when it hits the fat) will support pepper. Then cover immediately by drizzling egg batter to cover (or coat) the pepper.