On Monday night, Chef Rachel Klemek of BlackMarket Bakery in Irvine invited a group of Orange County foodies to her kitchen to experiment with sister company Marche Noir Food’s cabernet flour and cabernet pasta. It began with an ecologically creative idea to utilize the skins and seeds of crushed grapes, a byproduct of wine processing, that vitners disposed of as a cost of production. What’s fascinating about the wine flour that Marche Noir has created is that it adds a luscious new dimension of flavor, is gluten-free, and contains the health benefits of Resveratrol and antioxidants present in red wine and the iron, potassium and fiber from the grape skins. It’s a win, win!
Chef Rachel and Chef Louise Mellor ignited our creative juices and helped us navigate the kitchen. We brainstormed, partnered up and, fueled by our imaginations, conceived such inspired dishes as ravioli stuffed with aged gouda and fig paste in a cream sauce, fusilli with smoked, candied salmon, carmelized cipollini onions and mushrooms, and cabernet hazelnut torte with a chocolate ganache. I’ll share those creations in a post next week, because today, it’s all about my love for chile rellenos and how cabernet flour and two simple, flavorful sauces transformed a classic Mexican dish into an innovative delight.
6 poblano (pasilla) peppers, charred directly on the gas range (can also be done in the oven or on the grill). Put in a paper bag and allow to steam for a few minutes. Remove the charred skin, make a slit and gently remove the seeds and membrane from inside the peppers.
Meanwhile, my partner Kim prepared the butternut and roasted pepper sauces:
For the butternut squash sauce: Peel and dice the squash, boiled in salt water until tender. Meanwhile, sauté two diced shallots in butter and olive oil, salt and pepper. Puree the squash and shallot mixture together and soften the mixure by adding a little bit of cream (poured straight into the food processor).
For the roasted red peppers she took roasted red peppers from the ingredient table, pureed as-is with some fig balsamic vinegar. Then threw in some dried oregano and some fresh basil leaves, torn apart. Seasoned with salt and pepper, and that was it!
Stuff the peppers with a mixture of 1 cup shredded Manchego cheese, 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese and 1 cup roasted, chopped hazelnuts.
Fill skillet with 1 inch of grapeseed oil (or canola or olive oil) and heat over medium high heat until it begins to smoke. Gently pull the stuffed peppers through the batter and carefully place in the hot oil. Cook turning once, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from pan, place on paper towels. For presentation: spoon the two sauces alternately on a plate and artfully position the peppers.