Menu Fake Outs and the Relleno Relleno

You know what bums me out? When I read a menu and find a dish that gets me salivating in anticipation, only to have it arrive looking completely different from what I imagined. Is that just me? Or do those sort of menu fake outs happen to you too? It makes me so dissatisfied that I spend the meal pushing my  food around my plate like a 5-year old. But there’s an edible silver lining because that disappointment motivates me to create what I originally imagined. My most recent silver lining is a chile relleno-stuffed omelet I coined the Chile Relleno Relleno. Here’s how it came to be:

I was in Santa Fe and doing my best to get my fill of New Mexican food before we hit the road for Texas. While scanning the menu, my eyes locked in on this: “An Anaheim Chile Filled with Jack, Omelette-Style” I had never thought of stuffing a chile into an omelet, much less a chile stuffed with typical relleno goodies, so I just had to have it. Apparently, the restaurant didn’t either because, you already know the punchline: it showed up nothing like the chile relleno-stuffed omelet I imagined.

As I’m not one to let go of things easily, I was still craving that chile-filled omelet days later when I got home. After a bit of digging, I found that Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone had a recipe for something similar. (Do you know that book? It’s a must-have for anyone who wants to eat vegetarian without sacrificing adventure and flavor. I think I must be on a similar wavelength as Ms. Madison because many a time when I’ve developed a new recipe, I come to find that she has already conjured up something similar.)

But the recipe in Vegetarian Cooking is more of a chile relleno cooked into eggs and the omelet-lover in me wouldn’t be pleased with anything short of a stuffed chile wedged into a fold of fluffy eggs. That and the fact I had chorizo, salsa, and avocados lying around from my Tlayuda experiments, the recipe morphed into a dish that’s one part omelet and a dash chile relleno, stuffed with flavors reminiscent of chorizo and potato tacos. It’s a stick-to-your-ribs dish that’s seriously indulgent, but it’s the last of my Southwest road trip-inspired recipes so I thought it fitting to pull out all the stops.