Fresh and dried "Pasilla" chiles Note: In California, "Pasilla" is the name given to the Poblano chile, even though they are completely different variants. Keep this in mind as you read the following entry and when you go grocery shopping. (real) Poblano chile, (real) fresh Pasilla chile

The "Pasilla" chile is a relative of the Bell Pepper and is a staple in Mexican cuisine. Davisites might enjoy cooking with this chile if they're bored of the more popular traditional Bell Peppers that are available at all grocery stores. They're also excellent substitutions for the non-CA Pasilla chile and Chile Negro (the dried non-CA Pasilla).

If you're looking to buy fresh "Pasilla" chiles in Davis, you can likely find them at Farmers Market and any of the many grocery stores and ethnic markets. They look like elongated green Bell Peppers and are about a third as spicy as red Tabasco Sauce (1000-1500 Scoville units versus 2500-5000 SU for the sauce). When choosing a fresh "Pasilla" chile, pick the darker ones with a firm, wrinkle-free skin.

The dried "Pasilla" chiles are black and come in bags about the size of your head. Look in the foreign food sections of the pseudo-multicultural Albertsons or the North Davis Safeway. The flavor of the dried "Pasilla" is reminiscent of raisins and bell peppers, and they are often used as a paste or powder in Southwestern and Mexican recipes. To release the full flavor of these dried chiles, boil in water for about 10 minutes or until soft.

Here's a simple recipe you may want to try as an introduction to the "Pasilla" chile (feel free to experiment):

Grilled & Stuffed Fresh "Pasilla" Chiles
Fresh "Pasilla" chiles (or Poblanos)
1 cup
grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup
grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup
grated white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup
grated Parmesan cheese
Your favorite salsa, to taste

Prepare the chiles by cutting all the way around the stem so that you can remove the stem and seed base in 1 piece. Keeping the stem and top intact, trim off any seeds and membranes, and remove any seeds left behind in the chiles. Blanch the chiles for 2 minutes in lightly salted boiling water. Remove the chiles, refresh in ice water, and drain.

Combine the grated cheeses in a bowl and mix well. Stuff each chile with about 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture. Do not overstuff or pack the cheese in too densely. Replace the stem and top of the chile.

Cook on a grill over a medium fire, turning frequently until the cheeses are melted and the chiles are hot all the way through.

Serve on a bed of your favorite salsa. Enjoy!