Pasilla Raisin Salsa

Pasilla Raisin Salsa
  • Yield:2 cups

Pasilla means “raisin” in Spanish, so we thought it only natural to combine these crinkly, black, mildly hot dried chiles with some of the dried grapes that share their name. The resulting salsa has a rich, almost ketchup-like quality—and we mean that as a compliment. Its sweet-hot-tart flavor goes well with salty foods like quesadillas, though we’ve been known to slather it on a burger too.

In developing this salsa, we were influenced by the fantastic Ersatz Papalote Salsa by Max La Rivière-Hedrick from Chow.


  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5 plum tomatoes, cored and halved
  • 10 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, halved and seeded
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • minced scallions, for garnish


  1. 1.

    In a small bowl, combine raisins and balsamic vinegar, and set aside, and preheat the broiler.

  2. 2.

    On a foil-lined baking sheet, place tomatoes skin side up. Broil tomatoes until skins begin to blacken. At that point, place tomatoes in a medium pot with pasillas, salt, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes, stirring often.

  3. 3.

    In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds until pale brown and fragrant. Remove almonds from pan and let cool.

  4. 4.

    Add vinegar to tomato mixture, and cook briefly. Add toasted almonds and raisin-balsamic mixture. Let cool briefly, then pour mixture into a blender, and carefully blend.

  5. 5.

    Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to blend. Garnish with scallions, and serve.

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