The Chile Relleno Test (inserts included on Serious Eats)

This article was used in inserts on the Serious Eats column by Andrea Lynn. A family test, quick to generate responses of like minded foodies, check it out for yourself:

The Chile Relleno Test

For the true foody there are inherent tests we find ourselves taking when checking out a new restaurant. An upscale Japanese restaurant can be judged by the quality of its udon noodles; where the making of udon is considered an artisan skill.  A french bakery can be judged by the crust and taste of their baguette.  And in my family of chefs, the true test of a Mexican restaurant has always been the chile relleno.

You know when you get that first bite of a relleno you will either be blissfully appeased or sorely disappointed.  What makes these tests so accurate is there is no middle ground.  A perfect bite of relleno begins with the slight crunch of the crust leading the tongue to the delightful smokiness and depth of the roasted pasilla pepper which in moments is engulfed in the sweet, richness of melted cheese (traditionally queso Oaxaca).  There can be a number of flaws in a relleno, it can have too much of a crust-and a soggy one at that, it can be filled with inferior cheese or heaven forbid whiz and it can be destroyed any number of ways.  Though there are a number of variations on the relleno (it can be stuffed with meat or even covered in a tomato sauce) the core elements are still the crust, the roasted pepper, and the filling (most often cheese). When any of these elements goes awry the dish falters and is sure to fail.  However, when these three elements are done to well you experience a culinary trifecta.  So take the challenge yourself and hopefully you won’t be disappointed.


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