Hot Plate

Chiles rellenos can be hell on wheels or paradise on a plate. For an Elysian version, try chiles rellenos en nogada at Pico's (5941 Bellaire Boulevard, 662-8383). A pair of glossy, dark-green poblanos is roasted, then packed with a textured mix of wild and white rice, stir-fried peanuts, slivered almonds and pimiento-stuffed green olives. (Enhance with tender shreds of spicy pork, if you're in a carnivorous frame of mind.) Now, drape those peppers with an elegant walnut cream sauce: a heavenly blend of creme fra”che, sherry and pureed walnuts. Generously sprinkle with crunchy, ruby-red pomegranate seeds, or, if Persephone's pinched them all, substitute tangy dried cranberries revived in more sherry. (See also, "Food of the Gods.")

-- Margaret L. Briggs


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