While I’m prone to eating leftover fish fillets cold standing in front of the fridge late at night, there are a few other uses for what remains from a dinner of fresh fish. One great way is to make fish cakes, but for a more inspired recipe I turned to Scott Leysath, host of The Sporting Chef (where I occasionally make a guest appearance). Leysath’s website is a treasure trove of great fish and game recipes he’s developed over the course of his accomplished career, including this fish dish straight out of the Southwest.
Fish Chile Rellenos
8 Anaheim or Pasilla peppers
1 1/2 cups cooked fish fillets, broken into pieces
8 each thin strips cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups masa flour (available in either the baking or Hispanic section of most markets; or substitute all-purpose flour)
1 Tbsp. Hi Mountain Gourmet Fish Seasoning, or salt and pepper
6 eggs, chilled
Oil for frying
1. Place the peppers on a hot grill or other open flame and blacken evenly on all sides. Place the blackened peppers in a paper bag and close the bag so the peppers steam and the burnt skin is loosened, about 20 minutes.
2. Place the peppers on a work surface and carefully scrape the burnt skin away with the back side of a knife or with paper towels. Don’t worry about leaving a few bits of skin stuck to the peppers. It’ll just add flavor.
3. Cut a slit from the tem end of each pepper about half way to the tip. Carefully remove the seeds. Leaving a few seeds inside isn’t a big deal. Tearing the flesh while trying to remove all of the seeds is worse.
4. Carefully place a layer of fish inside the pepper from tip to stem. Do not overstuff!
5. Carefully lay a strip of each cheese on the fish. If the peppers split during the stuffing part, just secure the opening with 2 or 3 toothpicks, which can be removed after frying.
6. Mound the masa flour on a large plate and season with Hi Mountain Gourmet Fish Seasoning or salt and pepper. Gently coat the peppers with the seasoned flour.
7. Separate the eggs with the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another. Beat the yolks with a whisk or fork for a minute or two and then whisk the beaten yolks into the whites. Whisk for a minute more. Season the egg mixture with Hi Mountain Gourmet Fish Seasoning or salt and pepper. Dip the dusted peppers into the egg mixture.
8. Place the battered peppers, 1 or 2 at a time, into 350-degree oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
9. Arrange the peppers on plates and serve with salsa, spicy vinaigrette, chipotle mayonnaise, or your own favorite sauce.