Tuesday, April 29, 2014

ENGUACATADAS: LIKE ENCHILADAS, FOR AVOCADOS




The recipe for this sauce is from my friend Oscar's mum. I got a whole new perspective on Mexican food after I met him. In fact, until I met him I had never heard of enguacatadas and enfrijoladas. Oscar and I both love food, drinks, and cooking, and when I lived in Chicago we were always up for trying a new restaurant or bar in town.

I have always loved Mexican food and over the years as I got more and more into cooking, I've taught myself a lot about it. Like Indian and many other old cuisines, Mexican cuisine has regional differences and ingredients. And a whole slew of chiles that make the most flavourful sauces/salsas! This avocado sauce freezes very well for a few months so no worries if you have leftover sauce or want to make more for freezing.

Enguacatadas - like enchiladas - are typically filled with cheese or meat (chicken, quite often, since it's milder in flavour than beef). But I create my own vegetarian fillings and they're still amazing thanks to the incredible flavour of the sauce itself. Go easy on the spice in the filling because you really want the sauce to overarch the flavour of the dish rather than the filling or the cheese on top. Serve sliced jalapeños on the side for added spice at the table.

Enguacatadas - unlike enchiladas - are not ubiquitous. You won't see them on a restaurant menu or on a website or online cookbook, I'm not sure why. But make this recipe and enjoy the velvety avocado sauce!

Enguacatadas: "Enchiladas" in an Avocado Sauce
Makes: 12 enguacatadas

Sauce:
- 3 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 jalapeños
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. salt (use really good quality salt, as always)
- 1 tsp. avocado oil (or olive oil)
- 1 lime, juiced

Filling:

- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 cup peas, cooked (defrosted if using frozen cooked peas)
- 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced (or any other kind of mushroom)
- 1 tsp. Mexican oregano (Italian or Greek will do in a pinch)
- 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp. cumin powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. avocado oil (or olive oil)
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1 lime, juiced

Tortillas:
- 12 small corn tortillas (aka tortillas para enchiladas in some stores)

Topping (optional):
- 2 tbsp. black sesame seeds or
- 3/4 cup queso fresco, queso cotija, mild goat cheese, or shredded paneer (it's close to queso fresco)
  1. Sauce: Roast the 3 jalapeños over a direct flame or in a pan without adding oil, until the skin is mostly black. Immediately put the hot jalapeños in a container and cover. Set aside for 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes, remove the stem and peel the peppers - the skin should come right off. Give the roasted peppers a quick rinse to get rid of any loose skin. While rinsing, split them open and wash off the seeds. 
  2. Add the roasted jalapeños, avocados, garlic, salt, lime, and just enough water to blend. Blend on High to get a smooth sauce - the sauce should be thin enough to dip a tortilla in, but thick enough to coat the tortilla well without running offPut the sauce in a pan with the oil and heat to a simmer - do not boil. Transfer the sauce into a shallow tray large enough to dip a tortilla in, and set aside while you make the filling.
  3. Filling: In a pan, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, sauté till translucent and soft but not browned. Add the mushrooms and sauté till the mushrooms are soft. Add the zucchini and cook till just soft, not mushy. Add the cumin, oregano, salt, and peas and cook until the vegetables are heated through. Turn off the heat, stir in the lime juice and cilantro, and set the filling aside.
  4. Tortillas: Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and very quickly heat a tortilla on both sides to make it soft and pliable so it doesn't break. Dip the hot tortilla very quickly in the avocado sauce. Put the dipped tortilla on a plate and put 1-2 tbsp. of the filling in the centre. Wrap the sides of the tortilla around the filling like in an enchilada. Put the filled tortilla (enguacatada by now) seam side down on a plate and sprinkle a pinch of sesame seeds or a scant 1 tbsp. cheese over it.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas and serve with extra sauce. Enguacatadas!

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