Goat Cheese and Crab Rellenos with Fiery Black Bean-Pineapple Salsa

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Chef Stephan Pyles prefers to “roast” the chiles for rellenos by frying them in hot oil for a few minutes until they blister. He then dips them in ice water, drains them, and peels off the skin, which crackles apart. They don’t have the same depth of flavor as ones roasted over a flame, but Stephan’s method keeps the flesh firm, better for stuffing.

Yield: 10 servings

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Ingredients

  • For the Fiery Black Bean–Pineapple Salsa:
  • ¾ cup dried black beans
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 habañero chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons diced mango
  • 2 tablespoons diced pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon diced yellow bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • For the Rellenos:
  • 10 large long green chiles (Anaheim or New Mexico), roasted, peeled, and stems left intact
  • 1 head garlic, roasted and pureed
  • 3 ounces mild goat cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Monterey jack or Chihuahua cheese
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, cleaned of shells and cartilage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons diced roasted red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons diced roasted yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups peanut oil for frying
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal mixed with 2 teaspoons salt for dredging
  • Three-Tomato Pico
  • 8 sprigs cilantro, for garnish

Directions

  1. Do Ahead: The salsa can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Before frying, the rellenos can be assembled up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerated.
  2. For the Salsa: In a saucepan, soak the black beans in 2 cups of the stock and refrigerate overnight. Remove the pan from the refrigerator; add the lime juice and bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are just tender, about 45 minutes, adding more liquid if necessary.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the beans. Measure and set aside ¾ cup beans.
  4. Place the remaining beans and the remaining 2 cups chicken stock in a blender and purée until smooth; pour back into the saucepan.
  5. Add the reserved beans and remaining ingredients. Heat over low heat until warmed through.
  6. For the Rellenos: Carefully slit the chiles down one side and remove the seeds, leaving the stems attached.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine the garlic, goat cheese, grated cheese, crab, shallot, roasted bell peppers, herbs, and 2 tablespoons of the pepitas. Season with salt and pepper to taste; mix well.
  8. Stuff the chiles with the mixture, being careful not to overfill. Pulling the slit together, close the chiles and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before frying.
  9. In a heavy saucepan, heat at least 2 inches of peanut oil to 325°
  10. In a shallow bowl or rimmed plate, beat the egg into the cream.
  11. On another plate, place the seasoned cornmeal.
  12. To coat each relleno, first roll in the egg mixture, then in the cornmeal. Gently drop 1 or 2 rellenos at a time into the hot oil and fry until lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  13. Assembly: Ladle about 1/3 cup bean sauce onto each serving plate.
  14. Place a relleno next to the sauce and top with 2 tablespoons three-tomato pico.
  15. Garnish the plate with a cilantro sprig and some of the remaining 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas.

Tips/Techniques

The black bean salsa features the fiery habanero chile. On a 1 to 10 scale, it’s about a 17. One habanero is more than enough for a whole recipe. Handle it with care. It is 50 times hotter than a jalapeno.
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