Chef Neil Stuart shares the popular recipe from Ojo Caliente’s Artesian Restaurant.
If you’ve been to New Mexico, you know the question: green or red? Of course, this refers to the state’s notorious culinary specialty—green and red chile. In the Land of Enchantment, chile is a staple, something added to almost any dish. French fries slathered in green chile with cheese are particularly popular, but Chef Neil Stuart at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa’s Artesian Restaurant has a new, quite literal take on this old favorite.
Stuart, known for his straightforward approach to local, Southwestern flavors, uses poblano green chiles themselves—cut lengthwise and coated with flour, egg wash and potato flakes—to create “fries” that are accompanied by an Asian-inspired dipping sauce.
“I like to surprise people with flavors, textures, new interpretations of standard dishes, and whimsical presentations achieved with skill and balance,” says Stuart. “My food is personal.”
GREEN CHILE FRIES with Hot ‘n Sweet Vinegar
4 fresh poblano chiles, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and cut lengthwise into ½-inch-wide strips.
In succession: coat the chile strips with Wondra* Flour, a mixture of whole eggs whipped with a little water, and Instant Mashed Potato Flakes. Be sure to really press the chiles into the potato flakes to coat well.
*Wondra flour is a low-protein, pregelatinized wheat flour to which some malted barley flour has been added. It has been formulated to dissolve quickly in either hot or cold liquids, and is most often called for to thicken gravies and sauces. Because of its low-protein content, it is also sometimes used in making pie crusts and other recipes that call for cake flour, which is also lower in protein than all-purpose flour. Some bakers find the slightly acidic taste of cake flour objectionable and prefer the instant flour.
In a deep pot, heat canola oil to 350 degrees F., and fry the chile strips in small batches, being careful not to overcrowd, for about 45 seconds or until you see the breading turn a light brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with vinegar dipping sauce.
Hot ‘n Sweet Vinegar
1 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek (Asian chile paste)
Place the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer so that the sugar will dissolve. Remove from heat and chill before serving. Sugar and chile paste amounts may be adjusted to personal taste and desired heat level.
Beer and wine pairing:
Stuart recommends pairing a local beer, such as the Santa Fe Pale Ale, with the fries. For wine lovers, the Saint M Reisling is just right.
Nestled in a valley west of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Ojo Caliente’s Artesian Restaurant competes easily with the best of the culinary giants in Santa Fe, one hour south. Culinary Institute of America trained Chef Neil Stuart has created a menu of flavorful Southwestern and global items based on locally grown foods served in the charming historic (erected in 1916) hotel building, which features an intimate wine bar.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Hot Springs Resort & Spa’s legendary waters have been have been healing mind, body & spirit naturally for centuries. For more information on Ojo, the Artesia Restaurant or Chef Neil Stuart, call 800.222.9162 or go to www.ojospa.com.