Enchiladas Suizas is a dish shrouded in a mysterious past. Literally translated Enchiladas Suizas means “Swiss enchiladas,” a name attributed by some to the large amount of cheese and cream resembling the Swiss alps and by others to Swiss immigrants in Mexico who mingled their culinary love traditions with those of traditional Mexico. Enchiladas are by far one of the most traditional deeply rooted components of Mexican cuisine. Derived from corn, enchiladas originated in Mexico and date back to Mayan times, perhaps even before then. Corn itself is one of the most ancient food staples, originally known as maize (Zea mays), many believe that maize originated in Mexico and was domesticated in the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico. Enchiladas Suizas are an example of “Old World” meets “New World” cuisine , although no one can seem to decide who deserves credit for the dish. Most recently I read an article stating that the dish originated at Sanborns in Mexico City in 1950. Yet another article claimed the dish might have originated in the kitchen of Emperor Maximillian during the French invasion of Mexico. French influence on Mexican cuisine has been well-documented and there is little doubt that the two cultures make for an excellent gastronomic pairing. French citizens living in Mexico introduced their techniques and paired them with the traditional ingredients and spices of each region; the results were phenomenal and also served as a catalyst for The Pastry War. When made correctly, the sauce of Enchiladas Suizas bears the signature of classic French cuisine, with a consistency reminiscent of a Sauce aux Poivrons Vert or Sauce à la Moutarde. Whatever its exact origins, when properly made, Enchiladas Suizas will delight even the most discerning critic. Mexican-born French-trained chef Roberto Santibanez has spoken and written extensively on Mexican cuisine; a great article on recipes and suggested wine pairings may be found at Mexican Made Easy and another recipe at Food Republic. Should you be pressed for time and want a quick and easy version of Enchiladas Suizas, simply prepare the dish per your favorite recipe and substitute a pre-made verde sauce such as chef Rick Bayless’ Frontera brand Green Chile Enchilada Sauce with roasted tomatillo and garlic, available both online and in stores. ¡Buen apetito!