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Crab Casserole Chiles Rellenos

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You can roast your own, or pick them up already roasted during August chile fests around San Antonio.

The Hatch harvest is in, and here's a recipe that will give you one more good reason to stock up on plenty of those long, green Anaheim chiles. The recipe comes from Tucson, Ariz. chef Janos Wilder, published in his "The Great Chiles Rellenos Book" (Ten Speed Press, $16.95). Wilder suggests purchasing high-quality crab meat for this recipe, including Dungeness crab from the West Coast, Peeky Toe crab and lump crab are also recommended. "Steer clear of the artificial crab products or canned crab. Their flavors will not be nearly as enjoyable in this dish," writes Wilder. Crab Casserole Chiles Rellenos 6 large eggs 1 cup milk 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard 8 Anaheim (Hatch chiles, mild to medium), roasted, peeled and seeded 2 pounds Dungeness or lump crab meat, picked over to be sure shell is removed 1/2 cup finely chopped chives 2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes Freshly ground black pepper 3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 8 corn tortillas, fried until crisp then broke into 1-2-inch pieces Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-by-2-inch high casserole with a little butter, oil or cooking spray. Whip the eggs, milk and mustard together until well blended. Slice the chiles lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips. Lightly toss the crabmeat, chives and tomatoes together in a bowl. Lay half of the chile strips on the bottom of the casserole, placing them evenly to cover. Spread one-third of the crab mixture over the chiles. Ladle one-third of the egg mixture evenly over the cheese, gently shaking the casserole so the mixture seeps all the way through. Layer half of the broken tortillas over the cheese, pressing down so they become fairly flat. Repeat the process with the remaining half of the chiles, the second third of the crab mixture, some more ground pepper, the remaining cheese, the second third of the egg mixture and the remaining half of the tortillas. Finally, spread the last of the crab mixture on top, followed by the remaining egg mixture. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the custard is set. Remove from oven and let the casserole sit for about 15 minutes before serving. This will help all the ingredients firm up, but it will still be quite hot. Makes 6-8 servings. From "The Great Chiles Rellenos Book" by Janos Wilder        
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