At Mi Tocaya Antojería in Chicago, Best New Chef Diana Dávila’s “Espaghetti” with Poblano Cream and Crab sums up the essence of her cooking. It’s based on a dish her mom used to make, with broken and fried noodles. Dávila turns it up to 11 with sweet crabmeat, crunchy shaved cauliflower, and an oozy egg. The poblano cream sauce stays super-green thanks to the addition of fresh spinach and cilantro.
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar (if poaching eggs)
1 pound poblano chiles (about 6 medium chiles)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
1 ounce fresh spinach (about 1 cup), chopped
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon sazón seasoning (such as Goya)
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound uncooked spaghetti, broken into 3-inch-long pieces, or fideos
1 cup shaved cauliflower florets (from 1 small head cauliflower)
1/2 cup diagonally sliced scallions
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the 64-degree eggs
Preheat water with a sous vide immersion circulator in a large pot to 147°F according to manufacturer’s instructions. Gently add eggs in shells to preheated water; cook 1 hour. Use eggs immediately, or turn off immersion circulator and keep eggs warm in water until ready to assemble. (Alternatively, poach the eggs: Bring a large, wide skillet filled with water to a simmer over medium-high; add vinegar. Working 1 egg at a time, crack egg into a small bowl, and carefully slide into simmering water. Repeat 2 times with 2 eggs. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until whites are set but yolks are still slightly runny, about 4 minutes. Transfer cooked eggs to paper towels; set aside until ready to assemble. Repeat procedure with remaining 3 eggs.)
Step 2 Make the poblano cream
While the eggs cook, heat stovetop gas burners to high; char poblano chiles directly over flames, turning occasionally, until completely black, about 6 minutes. Immediately transfer chiles to a large bowl; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 20 minutes. Peel off and discard blackened skin from chiles; remove and discard seeds and stems. Transfer cleaned chiles to a blender; add broth, spinach, and cilantro. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add sour cream, sazón, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. With blender running, slowly drizzle in sunflower oil, processing until smooth. Cover and set aside.
Step 3 Make the “espaghetti”
Heat vegetable oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high. Add half of the broken spaghetti to hot oil; fry, stirring constantly, until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate. Add remaining spaghetti to skillet; fry, stirring constantly, until browned, about 5 minutes. Return first batch of noodles to skillet; carefully add broth and salt. Bring mixture to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until noodles are al dente, about 8 minutes. Rinse under cold water, and drain. Transfer to a bowl, and toss with olive oil.
Step 4 Assemble the dish
Place the poblano cream and “espaghetti” in a large skillet; cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in crabmeat, sliced spinach, and cheese; cook, stirring often, until crabmeat is warmed through, about 1 minute. Spoon mixture evenly onto 6 serving plates; top with shaved cauliflower and sliced scallions. Carefully crack 1 cooked egg over each plate (or top each plate with 1 poached egg), and serve immediately.
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