Cheesy and saucy, enchiladas land firmly in the comfort-food category. For years, I happily let a restaurant chef prepare the dish for me, especially Verduras Enchiladas at Whitefish’s now-closed Pescado Blanco. All of my at-home attempts ended up with crispy, unfoldable or mushy, unappealing tortillas.
Then I discovered a recipe for home-canned enchilada sauce. It’s so delicious I had to solve the tortilla problem. After trying several methods, from coating unheated tortillas with sauce to warming them in the microwave, I found a technique that keeps the tortillas both soft and intact.
You can use it with many fillings: pure cheese, roasted and shredded chicken, browned ground beef or Pescado Blanco’s blend of onions, mushrooms, peppers and butternut squash. In late summer, I stuff them with shrimp and homegrown summer squash – zucchini, yellow crookneck and even globe or pattypan.
But as they say, the secret is in the sauce. My favorite enchilada sauce can be made fresh or in advance and refrigerated, frozen or canned. I’ll share it later this week at TwiceAsTasty.com.
Shrimp and Summer Squash Enchiladas
1 cup chopped onion, divided
2-1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup grated mozzarella
6 tablespoons sunflower or other high-smoking point oil
12 6-inch corn tortillas
1 cup chopped zucchini or other summer squash
6 ounces raw shrimp, defrosted if frozen, peeled and chopped if large
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup homemade or store-bought enchilada sauce
Set aside 1/4 cup of chopped onion and 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese for topping. Mix the remaining cheddar with the mozzarella.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Carefully slide a tortilla into the oil and cook for about 10 seconds per side, until the tortilla starts to puff. Slide the fried tortilla onto a paper towel-lined tray to drain. Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas.
With the oil left in the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and sauté the remaining 3/4 cup of onion and the summer squash for about two minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for two to three minutes, until just cooked through. Remove this filling from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
On a large plate, spread a tablespoon or so of enchilada sauce. Dredge both sides of a fried tortilla in the sauce. Set the tortilla on another plate, and then spread about 3 tablespoons of the cheese blend and 2 tablespoons of the filling in a line along the center of the tortilla before rolling it up. Set the rolled tortilla, seam down, in a 9-by-13 inch baking pan. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, cheese and filling.
Spoon the remaining sauce on top of the enchiladas, spreading it to the edges of each tortilla to keep them from drying out. Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese and onion reserved for topping. Bake at 375°F for about 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and starts to bubble. Serve immediately.
Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.
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