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Enchilados Verdes de Pescado

These shredded-fish enchiladas offer a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. Flakes of fish play against the sustenance of a warm tortilla seasoned with the creamy sharpness of a tomatillo sauce. know fish enchiladas must sound trendy, but like good cooks everywhere, those on Mexico's coasts take advantage of their local ingredients.

I find myself drawn to this kind of enchilada regularly, because the tortillas, sauce and garnishes are happy wrapped around a variety of fillings, from leftover shredded chicken or pork, to shrimp, smoked fish or a combination of steamed, sautéed or roasted vegetables; you need l l/2 Cups of filling. The potatoes are my addition; they add another texture and keep these light enough to serve as a first course. A great dinner can be made by serving these enchiladas before Grilled Steak with Spicy Guajillo Sauce.

Serves 8 as an appetizer, 4 as a light main dish.

  1. The filling—Place the fish in a small (1 to-2-quart) saucepan, cover with salted water, set over medium heat and simmer until the fish flakes easily, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Transfer the fillets to a plate with a slotted spoon, then scoop the potatoes into the fish's broth and simmer untiltender, about 5 minutes; drain of the liquid, leaving the potatoes in the pan. Flake the fish into the saucepan and gently mix with the potatoes and l/2 cup of the tomatillo sauce (see below); cover and set aside.

  2. Warming the tortillas—Set up a steamer (a vegetable steamer in a large saucepan filled with l/2 inch of water works well); heat to a boil. Wrap the tortillas in a heavy kitchen towel, lay in the steamer and cover with a tight lid. Boil 1 minute, turn of the heat and let stand without opening the steamer for 15 minutes.

  3. Finishing the dish—Turn the oven on to the lowest setting and warm 4 to 8 plates in it. Bring the remainingtomatillo sauce to a simmer over low heat, add the Thick Cream (or one of its stand-ins) and l/4 Cup of thechopped cilantro. Taste, season with salt and keep warm; warm up the fish and potato filling. Mix theremaining half of the onion with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro.One serving at a time, finish the enchiladas: Lay a warm tortilla on an individual plate (2 tortillas ifyou're serving these as a light main dish), spoon a portion of filling across one side of the tortilla(s), foldover, ladle on a portion of sauce and sprinkle with cheese, the onion-cilantro mixture and radishes. Garnishwith a sprig(s) of cilantro and serve.

Advance Preparation—The sauce will keep several days, the filling 1 day; refrigerate both tightly covered. Complete steps 3 and 4 just before serving.

Shortcut—A time-saver here would be to buy about 12 ounces of smoked fish or cooked shrimp and eliminate the potatoes.

For 2 Cups Essential Simmered Tomatillo Serrano Sauce

Making 2 cups Essential Simmered Tomatillo-Serrano Sauce—Lay the tomatillos and chiles on a baking sheetand place about 4 inches below a very hot broiler. When the tomatillos and chiles blister, darken and softenon one side, about 5 minutes, turn them over and roast on the other side. Transfer tomatillos, chiles and any accumulated juices to a food processor or blender.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a medium-large (9 to 10 inch) heavy skillet over medium. Add half of the onion and cook, stirring often, until richly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add to the chile mixture in the food processor or blender and process to a medium-fine purée. Wipe the skillet clean, set it over medium-high and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. When hot enough to make a drop of the purée sizzle sharply, put it all in at once and stir for about 5 minutes, until darker and thicker. Add the broth, let return to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer briskly until thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes.

Recipe from:

Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
by Rick Bayless
Photographs by Maria Robledo
(Scribner Books;
October 1996)
ISBN: 0-684-80006-3
Reprinted with permission

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