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Seafood Enchiladas with Salsa Verde


Crab and Shrimp Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

recipe by shereen pavlides

Tip: before you’re ready to fill the tortillas, wrap the stack of tortillas in heavy duty paper towels and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds to slightly warm, making them pliable and easier to roll. While working, keep the pile of tortillas covered while filling, to prevent cracking.

I’ve found I have better luck using corn tortillas found in the International isle, not refrigerated, they are more moist or make them homemade.

for the salsa verde:

8 tomatillos - stemmed, husked

4 Cubanelle peppers

2 poblano chiles

1 Serrano chile

1/2 cup canola oil - divided

kosher salt / fresh finely ground black pepper

1/2 pound lump crab meat

1 pound large shrimp (in their shells)

8 garlic cloves - minced, divided

1 small onion - diced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups homemade chicken stock + extra as needed

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons coriander

for the pico de gallo:

2 - 3 large ripe tomatoes - diced (2 cups)

1 1/2 limes - 1/2 freshly squeezed (1 tablespoon), remaining cut into wedges

1/2 cup chopped cilantro + extra to garnish

12 (5 1/2-inch) corn tortillas

2 cups freshly shredded Monterey jack cheese

for the garnish:

1 small red onion - thinly sliced

1 Serrano or fresco chile - thinly sliced

1/2 cup crumbled cotija or queso fresco (Mexican cheese)

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Preparing the salsa verde: Place tomatillos, Cubanelle peppers, poblano chiles, and Serrano chile onto a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil evenly over all of the chiles and peppers and toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast until slightly charred and tender, about 25 - 35 minutes, turning halfway. Remove to cool.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9 by 12-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Preparing the crab:

Rinse the crab under cold water in a fine mesh strainer. Drain well. Pick through removing any cartilage. Add the crab to a medium-sized bowl.

Preparing the shrimp:

Peel and devein the shrimp, removing the tails, but save the shells that are in tact in one piece. Cut the shrimp in half, lengthwise. Season the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper on both sides.

Heat a 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is heated and shimmers, sauté the shrimp and 2 minced garlic cloves until just cooked through, about 2 minutes, tossing constantly. Remove the shrimp and garlic to the bowl with the crab. Toss. Reserve the pan.

Back to preparing the salsa verde:

Add 1 tablespoon oil into the reserved pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until tender, 3 - 4 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Pour in the remaining 1/4 cup oil into the pan and slowly whisk in the flour, a little at a time until smooth. Cook the roux to build a nutty flavor, about 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in the 3 cups chicken stock, cumin and coriander until smooth. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Add the shrimp shells and stir. Bring to a gentle boil over medium - high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook until all the flavors combine, about 10 minutes, stirring periodically to prevent a skin and from the sauce sticking. {Note: if the sauce seems too thick, add a few splashes of chicken stock as needed to thin. Stir}

Meanwhile; how to prepare the pico de gallo: Add tomatoes, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1/2 cup cilantro into a medium bowl. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss well to combine. Set aside.

Finishing the salsa verde: Using thongs, remove and discard the shrimp shells from the sauce. Pour sauce into a blender.

Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and chiles (as desired, to reduce the heat). Place the chiles, peppers and tomatillos into the blender with the sauce. Place fitted lid secured on top and purée until smooth, 1 - 2 minutes. {Note: remember to hold the lid tight with a kitchen towel or the heat can blow off the top} Season to taste. {Yield: about 6 cups}

How to assemble:

Pour 1 1/2 cups salsa verde evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Divide shrimp, crab and pico de gallo (using a slotted spoon) among 12 tortillas, lengthwise, working one at a time, to prevent drying out.

Keep remaining tortilla shells covered while you work. Carefully (to prevent cracking) but firmly roll to close each tortilla and place seam side down into the prepared baking dish, tightly next to each other (lining two tortillas horizontally side by side across the pan lengthwise), to fit evenly.

Pour 2 cups salsa verde down the center of the tortillas, exposing 1-inch of the ends. {You will have plenty of salsa verde left over for another use. Can refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 2 months}.

Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese evenly over the sauce. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Remove. Let rest, 10 minutes. {As it sits, it has time to absorb and set the flavor}.

Garnish: with cilantro, red onion slices, Serrano or Fresno Chile slices and cotija or queso fresco cheese sprinkled over top, as desired.

Serve lime wedges on the side for squeezing.

prep: 50 minutes

cook / bake: 45 minutes

serves: 6

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