My Chicana landlady during grad school shared this simple, uniquely flavorful dish, with ingredients that were hard to find in 1970, but today come from my own garden. For the recipe, the knowledge and the table laden with comida casera – ¡Muchas Gracias, Tia Yvonne!

12 Anaheim chiles, roasted, seeded, peeled, etc.
6 oz jack or colby cheese, sliced into 12 pieces, 3” by ½” by ¼”
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water, ¼ tsp salt until very fluffy
oil or cooking spray
2 large very ripe red tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, slivered, or large bunch chopped chives
1 or 3 serrano chiles, diced very fine – optional
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 oz grated cheese

Slip the slices of cheese inside the chiles carefully. Heat a tbsp of oil in a saute’ pan, or coat heavily with cooking spray. Roll a stuffed chile in the beaten egg and place in skillet: repeat with two more. Now turn the first (the underside should be lightly browned and a bit crisp), repeat with second and third. Now remove the first to an ovenproof dish when both sides are browned and crisp, and follow with the others. Repeat with remaining chiles, three at a time.
When all the chiles are fried, combine the tomato, onion, serranos and cilantro, and pour over the stuffed fried chiles in the baking dish. Place in 325 oven for about 15 minutes – it doesn’t take long, you just want the flavors to blend. Top with grated cheese, return to oven just long enough to melt cheese. Serve with flour tortillas.

My absolute favorite recipe, food, flavor – of all traditions, all regions, all styles, all categories, all time.