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Asparagus Enchiladas

Monday, March 26, 2012

Part 1: Salsa Verde

You can bypass this step if you have access to a good source—someplace like the deli at a Mexican grocery store or even the version in a jar available at Trader Joe’s. If you make your own, you can make a double recipe and freeze part of it to use later. You can use it as a regular salsa with chips, or you can use it as a simmer sauce with chicken or pork. It’s very traditional and versatile.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lb tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 jalapeño peppers OR 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • salt to taste

Directions

Remove “paper” husks from tomatillos and rinse well.

To roast: Cut in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin (do not discard skins—they add flavor to the sauce).

OR

To boil: Place tomatillos in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove tomatillos with a slotted spoon.

Put tomatillos, lime juice, onions, cilantro, and chili peppers (if desired) in a food processor or blender, and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped—not completely liquefied (you want a little texture). Season to taste with salt. Cool in refrigerator to let flavors meld.

Makes 3 cups.

Part 2: The Enchiladas

The word “enchilada” in Spanish comes from “enchilar”—to add chilis to. Enchiladas come prepared in many ways. In much of Latino culture they’re rolled and baked, but they can also be stacked (very typical in New Mexico). If you’re making them family-style it’s easy to make them as a layered casserole, which I describe here.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • 3/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 pound asparagus spears, cut into 2 inch lengths (woody ends removed)

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place asparagus on a baking sheet with a little oil and salt and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet so it doesn’t overcook. (Leave oven on.)

While asparagus is roasting, sauté onion in vegetable or olive oil until soft (not browned).

Spray casserole dish with Pam or other such spray or lightly oil.

Place single layer of tortillas to cover dish. Spread half of sautéed onions and half of the asparagus over tortillas. Spoon salsa verde over vegetables. Top with 1/3 of grated cheese. Repeat layering, ending with tortillas, sauce, then cheese (no veggies on top layer).

Bake for 35 minutes until cheese on top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes.

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