Whole Foods Friday is what I'm calling my new partnership with the local Whole Foods stores in Boulder County. Whole Foods lets me shop for what I need for any recipe I want to make, and I post the results here. Whole Foods also posts my recipes on their Boulder blog. It's a fun project.
Chile rellenos usually involve batter and frying, but that's not very summery. Summer is for lighter food and grilling. It's also the time when all sorts of wonderful produce looks so good - including peppers. So I decided to come up with a more summer-friendly version of chile rellenos that could could be cooked on the grill.
To go with the peppers, I made a pair of salsas. Usually, the peppers used for rellenos aren't very spicy, so the salsa made sense. At first, I was going to make one cooked salsa and one raw, but I decided I wanted thicker salsas. You could, if you wanted to, serve both of them raw.
The tomato salsa starts off with a cooked base so it's thick, but it doesn't cook long - and the fresh vegetables give it a fresh taste while keeping it thick.
Monterrey Jack cheese
Char the peppers on your grill or directly on a gas burner on your stove until the skin is blackened. Put the pepper in a plastic bag or a covered container.
When they're cooled enough to handle easily, the skins will be easy to remove.
Lay the peppers on a flat surface and cut a lengthwise slit large enough for you to reach in and remove the core and seeds. Rinse the pepper to remove the remaining seeds.
Cut the cheese into pieces that will fit into your peppers and insert a piece of cheese into each pepper. Drizzle olive oil on the peppers and rub it over the surface of the peppers.
Smaller peppers - like Hungarian wax peppers - are better off cooked on a piece of aluminum foil on the grill. Larger peppers can be cooked directly on the grill.
Cook the peppers until the cheese melts - keep in mind that the peppers have already been cooked during the charring, so you just need to warm the peppers and melt the cheese.
Serve with the salsas and warm tortillas on the side. Sliced avocados or guacamole makes a nice accompaniment.
2 tomatoes, cored and cut in chunks
1/2 red bell pepper, cored and cut in chunks
1/4 medium onion,cut in chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tomato, cored, seeded, and diced
1/4 medium onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, cored and diced
1/2 serrano pepper, stem removed, seeded and finely diced
Put the chunked tomatoes, red bell pepper, and onion in your blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth. If you need a little water, add it, but be conservative.
Transfer the blended mixture to a saucepan and add salt. Cook on medium heat - at a slow simmer - until reduced by about half, and about the thickness of tomato sauce.
Transfer the cooked sauce to a storage container and add the diced tomato, diced onion, diced green bell pepper, and finely diced serrano pepper. Stir to combine, and refrigerate until chilled.
1/4 medium onion, cut in chunks
1/2 green bell pepper, cored and cut in chunks
1 serrano pepper, stem removed, (optionally seeded) cut in chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lime
If you prefer a hotter salsa, leave the seeds in the serrano pepper. Otherwise remove the seeds.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add a little bit of water if you need it to get the blender going, but be conservative. Transfer to a saucepan and cook on medium heat - a slow simmer - until reduced by about half and thickened to about the consistency of tomato sauce. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until chilled.