“On my family’s rancho, they loved their vegetables and fruits,” says Jacqueline Higuera McMahan. “Meat was maybe for a celebration. The California slant is much more Mediterranean.” These simple stuffed chiles are a perfect example of how filling these vegetable-based dishes can be. McMahan’s recipe can also be made without the breading and toasted on a griddle to melt the cheese, but the baked version with breadcrumbs also incorporates the herbs that were always in her family’s garden. “California cooking was also very herb based,” she says. “My grandmother couldn’t live without her rancho oregano, her cilantro, and her Italian parsley.”
8 stuffed chiles
- Char the chiles over a flame, on a grill, or under a broiler, turning to blacken all of the skin, then place them under a wet paper towel to steam for at least 10 minutes. Use a paper towel to wipe off the charred skin, and split the chiles down the side to remove the seeds; if using poblano chiles, pull out the heavy seed pod under the stem. Fill each chile with ½ cup grated cheese.
- Put the bread, parsley, garlic, and Parmesan into a food processor and process into fluffy crumbs, then spread them out on a piece of wax paper or a plate. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons water.
- Preheat an oven to 375°F. Carefully dip each stuffed chile into the egg and then coat it in the bread crumbs. Place the prepared chiles on an oiled baking sheet, drizzle them with a bit of olive oil, and bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Georgia Freedman is a freelance journalist and editor based in the Bay Area. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Afar, Martha Stewart Living, Rodale’s Organic Life, Roads and Kingdoms, and other food and travel publications including Saveur magazine, where she was previously the managing editor. She is the author of the upcoming cookbook Cooking South of the Clouds—Recipes and Stories from China’s Yunnan Province (Kyle Books, September 2018).