Note: The following article focuses mainly on cuisine outside of Argentina
I almost missed them. If it were not for one last glance around the produce section they probably would have been purchased by others, more out of curiosity than extreme craving. Or maybe these shiny objects would have just rotted away on the shelf for prominently displaying that fear-inducing generic “aji picante” label that every pepper here receives for just having at least a touch of heat. That didn’t happen. I bought up half the stock one day and went back and bought the rest the next. I’m bad, I know, but maybe a few others were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and let their curiosity get the better of them to purchase at least one-I didn’t count. These were mine. Typically something of this sort makes an appearance once in a while if you are lucky. Maybe my purchases will show interest and bring them back.
I actually have a few growing in some pots but they will only reach about 1/10 of the size of these and because of that, won’t be of much use. At least for what I had been craving, which are chiles rellenos. Yes, the chile relleno. A staple of the typical generalized Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant. Yeah yeah, I know, there are many other chiles rellenos around the world, including some in Argentina, but I’m sure the majority of you know what I’m talking about.
When I saw these peppers, I knew their destiny was already set. The problem was I never made them before because (a) for all of the years I’ve lived in Argentina I have never come across them in markets until now and (b) when I lived in the U.S. it was obviously much easier to make a trip to the local aforementioned restaurants.
A few glances at various sites gave me an idea of what to do and then I ran with that. The problem with those sites was that they didn’t give any reassurances that the batter would hold everything in like a protective jacket. A whipped-egg-whites-with-yolks-mixed-in-separately batter is something I never worked with before and I didn’t make that batter until all of the peppers were stuffed. Therefore, when I actually stuffed the peppers, I did it lightly thinking that everything would just bust out into the hot oil if I went any further. I knew they wouldn’t be bursting at the seams with cheese as those tasty treats in the days of old but there’s always a first. Only when I performed the dipping and frying did I realize how wrong I was. The batter held everything in perfectly but the lack of mass filling allowed a bit too much oil to seep in through the cracks.
Greasiness aside, the cheese, meat, and pepper flavors melded together perfectly. The peppers had enough heat to tickle my hot sauce scorched tongue. My wife, on the other hand, who cringes at even the slightest touch of black pepper screamed “AHHHHHHH, WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME,”–plus a shouted few verbal obscenities in my direction–and chugged her glass of beer like a frat boy.
Sorry, but no recipe to post. The sauce was just a quick mashup of canned tomatoes with onions, peppers, and spices.