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.
Chile Relleno Relleno Omelet Recipe
Makes: 2 servings
For the omelet:
2 medium poblano chiles (sometimes labeled pasilla chiles)
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 ounces Mexican chorizo (optional)
3 baby potatoes, quartered and sliced paper thin
2 to 3 ounces fresh goat cheese (aka chevre), crumbled
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or chives
5 large eggs
Crema or Sour Cream
Heat a gas burner to high and place the chiles directly on the flame. Char, turning occasionally with tongs, until the chiles blacken and blister on all sides. Remove to a large heatproof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap or a baking sheet and let the chiles steam until cool enough to handle. (Alternatively, char them under your oven’s broiler but know that it will be a bit softer and more delicate to handle.) (Recipe can be made up to here up to 1 day ahead — just store refrigerated in an airtight container)
Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a small nonstick pan. Add the chorizo (if using), break it up using a spoon, and cook until browned. Stir in potato, season with salt, and cook potatoes until charred and browned. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, scallions, and herbs until evenly combined. Taste and add more salt or pepper, as needed.(Recipe can be made up to here up to 1 day ahead just store refrigerated in an airtight container)
When chiles are cool enough to handle, rinse them under slowly running water and gently rub off skin, being careful not to tear the chiles. Trim off stem of chile, pull out seeds, and season all over with salt and pepper. Stuff each chile with half the cheese mixture, being careful not to tear them, then set the chiles aside.
Heat broiler to high. Whisk eggs until smooth and evenly combined. Heat another 1 teaspoon of the oil in an small nonstick frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of the eggs and swirl to coat the pan. As the eggs start to set, use a rubber spatula to gently push aside a small patch of cooked egg, then tilt the pan so that uncooked egg fills in the gap. Repeat, working your way around the pan until the eggs are set across the pan and the top is still a bit wet.
Place the chile back on one side of the pan and fold the eggs over the chile. Gently push the folded side of the omelet into the chile and place under the broiler. When omelet is puffed and just set, remove, garnish, as desired, with salsa, crema, and/or avocado, and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining oil, eggs, and chile to make second omelet.