Thursday, April 10, 2014
Rick Bayless will forever be my go-to source for Mexican recipes, but I'm starting to think Joe Yonan has some pretty good ideas too. Mexican food doesn't have to be thoroughly authentic to be deeply satisfying, and I definitely have a fondness for both the Americanized and authentic versions. Just as gratifying as your favorite greasy Mexican joint, but without a requirement to be dressed for public dining, this meal is the perfect way to indulge your craving with a hint of authenticity and without settling for the Taco Bell drive-through.
I'm a sucker for anything in a tortilla, from whole wheat roasted veggie wraps, to fish tacos in homemade corn tortillas, to greasy quesadillas and everything in between. This recipe is a great balance of flavor, health, and convenience, using a collection of pantry staples and fresh vegetables to get this gorgeous meal into the oven in less than half an hour. Yogurt makes the quickly cooked vegetables wonderfully creamy with low caloric impact, tucked happily into tender corn tortillas with savory tomato sauce. Dipping the tortillas into the sauce before stuffing and rolling is a simple step that makes all the different in unifying the ingredients, though coating everything in a gentle layer of cheese certainly doesn't hurt. I can't imagine a Mexican dish without cilantro, but if your genetic misfortune means it leaves a soapy taste in your mouth, feel free to leave it out. This meal is plenty hearty as is, but beans, mushrooms, or chicken certainly wouldn't be unwelcome additions to the spinach.
adapted from Eat Your Vegetables by Joe Yonan
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot lobe, chopped, or 1/4 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 small to medium jalapeno, finely chopped (leave seeds and ribs for extra heat)
3 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves, washed and dried (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons whole Greek-style yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche
2 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2/3 cup flavorful store-bought or homemade tomato sauce, thinned with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Pour the oil into a small skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the shallot, garlic, and jalapeno and cook until soft but not browned. Add the spinach and stir-fry until it has just wilted, then scrape the mixture into a bowl and stir in the yogurt. Season with salt to taste.
3. Warm the tortillas to make them more pliable : either microwave them for a few seconds or heat them in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for about 10 seconds on each side, just enough to soften them. (If you have a gas stove, you can also put hem directly on the burner grate over the flame for a few seconds on each side.) Immediately wrap them in foil to keep them warm.
4. Pour the thinned-out tomato sauce into the skillet that you sauteed the shallow mixture in and bring it to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to love so that the sauce is barely simmering. Use tongs to dip the tortillas into the sauce one at a time, leaving them in for a just a few seconds; lift them out, letting the excess sauce drip off, and transfer them to a plate.
5. Spread about a quarter of the sauce on the bottom of a small casserole or individual gratin dish. Lay the softened tortillas on a work surface. Place half the spinach mixture in the center of each one, then roll the tortillas to form enchiladas and arrange them seam side down on top of the layer of sauce in the casserol dish. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
6. Bake until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the enchiladas with the cilantro and eat hot.