First, it was squash blossoms. Now, in my ongoing quest to try as many new-to-me foods as I can while our farmers market holds out, I couldn’t resist these chilaca chile peppers. Deep green and waxy, these mild to medium-hot peppers are usually seen dried in grocery stores under the name pasilla chile or chile negro. Commonly eaten in Central Mexico, I knew they would be right at home in my kitchen, where guacamole, salsa, and tacos are king. (Can’t find fresh chilaca chile peppers at your farmers market? Go for poblano peppers instead.) Since they’re on the mild side, I didn’t find seeding them to be necessary, and using one whole pepper in a recipe added flavor and spice without overpowering heat.
I decided to put the squash blossoms and chilaca peppers together. (I’ve used these irresistible blossoms in the past fried and cashew cheese stuffed and sautéed with garlic.) While doing an online search, I discovered that squash blossoms are often used in quesadillas. I immediately thought about my creamy cauliflower queso and knew that a half batch would be just the trick for a delicate but hearty appetizer.
After making creamy vegan queso with white beans and cauliflower, I sautéed the chilaca chile peppers with squash blossoms, garlic, and bell peppers, slathered them onto tortillas, and toasted them in a skillet. I added fresh herbs and a sprinkling of salt for an appetizer that makes a light but filling meal on their own or a pretty appetizer for a late summer gathering. They would pair nicely with a fresh tomato or tomatillo salsa, but it’s not entirely necessary.