Egg White Relleno
This is the classic dish, the base line for the many creative versions invented by chefs with fillings ranging from goat cheese to lobster mousse. Chiles relleños may be a light meal, or a side dish with grilled foods. For the best flavor, the chilies should be fried at the last minute. However, the time-consuming roasting can be done up to 2 days in advance. Keep the roasted chilies covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
- Fresh Chilies - 12, such as poblano, Hatch, or Anaheim
- American cheese slices - 6
- Eggs - 4, separated
- Pinch of salt
- Flour for dipping
Roast, peel, and stem the chilies, leaving the seeds in. Don’t worry if you have small tears in the flesh, since the flour and batter will cover them. Cut each slice of cheese into four strips and insert two strips inside the top of each chili. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 150 F. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt to form a meringue. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored, about 15 minutes. Add the yolks to the whites, beating on low speed briefly to incorporate, then proceed immediately since the batter deflates quickly.
Heat a skillet over high heat and grease it with a little oil. Dip the chilies in flour, shaking off any excess, then dip into the egg batter. Fry in the hot skillet until browned on one side, about 2 minutes, then turn and brown the other side. Add oil to the skillet if the chilies start to stick. Repeat until all the chilies are fried. Layer the chilies in a baking dish or on an ovenproof platter with a piece of aluminum foil between each layer, and keep them warm in the preheated oven while frying the remaining chilies.