Vera Miles’ Mexican Casserole
For her 2018 publication, Cooking with Columbo: Suppers With the Shambling Sleuth, author Jenny Hammerton invited friends and fellow Columbo fans to test cook the recipes. Peter Fuller tested Vera Miles' Mexican Casserole because Vincent Price also guest starred in the 1973 episode, Lovely But Lethal, in which Vera was the week's villain. Here's what Jenny wrote about the recipe.
The newspaper article from which this recipe of Vera’s is taken, published in 1974, she is quoted as saying that she felt that there weren’t many good acting roles for women. “It’s a man’s world, and so many of the writers are men who write for men.” She must have been happy with this role in 1973 though, striding around her health farm in a bright, white jumpsuit, Viveca is the epitome of someone who “owns it.” Vera is a fabulous actress and one of my very favourite Columbo adversaries.
Viveca’s favourite tipple is apparently a tequila cocktail with organic cactus juice, so if you can get your hands on such a juice, that would be a fun thing to serve. It would fit with Vera’s Mexican inspired dish too. A super-cheesy treat with chilies.
How to make
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F / 190 degrees C / gas mark 5.
Grate the two kinds of cheeses and mix together. Beat egg whites until stiff, adding about 1½ tablespoons flour for added body. Beat the egg yolks until fluffy and gently fold into the egg white mixture. Add a dash of salt to taste.
Chop the chilli peppers. Vera says: “If you desire less of a hot taste, remove some of the chilli seeds, as they contain the hot flavour.” Grease a large casserole dish that would serve about five people and layer a portion of the egg mixture into the dish. Next layer part of the chopped chilli pepper, ending with a portion of the cheese. Repeat until ingredients are used up. Arrange the fresh tomato over the top, and sprinkle with oregano.
Bake for 30 minutes or until mixture is set.
1 lb / 450g of Jack/Gouda cheese
1 lb / 450g of Cheddar cheese
6 eggs (separated)
1½ tablespoons flour
2 small cans of green chilli peppers
1 fresh tomato (sliced)
Dash of oregano