I’ve been on an enchilada kick lately. I was trying to think of something relatively healthful for dinner, something that would taste kind of indulgent without actually BEING indulgent… and I realized that as long as I kept the cheese minimal, enchiladas could be a fairly health-conscious option. It had been several years since I had made them – and I decided that instead of my usual standby of chicken, I wanted to use shrimp. And now, several weeks and half a dozen enchilada dinners later, I think I’ve got a hell of a recipe to share! Of course, if you don’t feel like making them yourself, you can always just swing by my house, because we basically have enchiladas once a week these days. Just make sure you call first, because my husband generally commandeers no fewer than eight enchiladas for himself, and I’d hate to run short of food when I have guests. How embarrassing!
(Please note: my methodology skips the step that quickly and lightly fries the tortillas to keep them from breaking. It honestly makes no difference if the tortillas crack or break – they still taste damn good, even if they look less than perfect. These days, I am focused on getting in and out of the kitchen as fast as I can on weeknights, which means I can’t be bothered to fuss with another pan and another step. I will still gladly shovel ugly enchiladas into my food-hole!)
Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde
12 corn tortillas (6″)
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 jalapeño peppers
24oz jar of salsa verde (I prefer Herdez brand)*
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2oz cream cheese**
3oz monterey jack cheese, grated***
*It’s not totally necessary, but I like to drain my salsa a bit to draw out the excess liquid before I start cooking with it. I set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, and pour the salsa into it; after 3 or 4 minutes, it will have drained a few tablespoons worth of liquid, and be nice and thick.
**Full-fat or low-fat is fine – but don’t you dare let me catch you using fat free. That stuff is an abomination.
***You remember the First Rule of Melty Cheese, right? Thou shalt grate thy own cheese, and leave that awful pre-shredded stuff for some other sucker. Don’t ever forget that rule, it’s super important for maximum melty cheese enjoyment.
1.) Preheat your oven to 350°. Heat a large pan over medium heat, and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onion.
2.) Sauté the onion until it starts to soften and become translucent. Meanwhile, cut one of the jalapeños in half, and scrape out the seeds and ribs. Slice it into very thin strips, and add it to the pan. Continue the cook the vegetables until their edges are slightly browned, and they’ve softened.
3.) Cut your shrimp into bite-size pieces. Push the sautéed onions and peppers to the sides of your pan, and add the shrimp. (Be sure to add a splash more oil to the pan, if it’s looking a little dry.) Season everything with a big pinch of kosher salt, and the garlic powder.
4.) Add half the salsa verde to the pan, along with the cream cheese. Lower the heat, and stir to combine everything. Cook just until the cream cheese has melted and incorporated into the salsa (so the shrimp don’t overcook and become rubbery), and you’re ready to build your enchiladas.
5.) Add half the remaining salsa to the bottom of the large baking dish, and spread it into a thin layer. Spoon a bit of the shrimp filling on to the center of each tortilla, being careful not to overfill them. Roll each enchilada, and place it seam-side down into the baking dish. Repeat until all the tortillas and all the filling have been used.
6.) Once all the enchiladas are rolled and in the baking dish, spread the remaining salsa verde over the top of them. Sprinkle the grated monterey jack cheese over the enchiladas. Take the second jalapeño, and slice it very, very thinly. Lay the jalapeño slices across the top of the cheese, and then sprinkle the entire dish with a bit of kosher salt.
7.) Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the enchiladas are warmed through. Finish with a minute or two under the broiler, so the cheese gets nicely browned.
8.) Let the enchiladas rest for a couple minutes, so the cheese has a chance to set up. Serve and enjoy!
As I write this, I actively annoyed that I do not have any leftovers to enjoy at this moment in time. These enchiladas are sooooo good! I want to eat them every day! I realize that’s not terribly practical, but the heart wants what it wants, man.
To recap, here’s what we’ve got going on: sweet, caramelized onions. Melty, perfectly browned cheese. Fresh, crunchy, SPICY jalapeños. Hearty, perfectly cooked shrimp. Bright, tart salsa verde. These enchiladas are proof that I was a very, very good person in a former life, and that all that excellent karma is coming back my direction. All that excellent, cheesy karma (insert heart-eyes emoji here).
This is one of the few exceptions to the “no cheese with seafood” rule,