At first blush, the chile relleno might look intimidating to the heat-averse, but the stuffed and fried chile dish is usually made with mild poblano chiles – lovely green-pepper flavor, scant capsaicin heat.
Of course, there are other ways to excite our collective sense of daring. At Agave del Scottsdale, this is achieved via an exotic fungus used in the restaurant’s delicious chile relleno de huitlacoche ($18). To prepare, chef Carlos Padilla roasts a fresh poblano in the oven and then removes the seeds and skin before stuffing it with huitlacoche, a mushroom-like delicacy that grows on ears of corn. “They’re also known as Mexican truffles,” Padilla says.
Imported from Mexico, the velvety and musky huitlacoche is sautéed with garlic and fresh corn, and then seasoned with salt and pepper before stuffing into the poblano. Padilla sets the deep green stuffed pepper on a bed of fresh tomato sauce spiked with garlic, dried chipotle and epazote, a Mexican herb that lends an anise taste with notes of oregano, and then finishes the sauce with a touch of cream.
Put together, the flavors and textures are divine – the slightly yielding poblano nestled in mild tomato sauce spills open to reveal a stew of earthy huitlacoche mixed with crunchy fresh corn kernels. Garnished with piped sour cream and pink salsa, this dish is a thing of beauty. And daring.
Agave del Scottsdale
8390 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale