CRAB AND SPINACH ENCHILADAS WITH TOMATILLO SAUCE

Preparation time: 1 ½ hours; Serves 6

I didn’t set out to make enchiladas on a Monday night, the plan was crab cakes and salad, but when I told my son I was making crab cakes he looked at me and said “Mom, you know I don’t like crab cakes.” Well, I guess I really have been ignoring that, as I do believe that sometimes it takes ten or more times to try a food before you might like it. He actually used to like crab cakes, not sure what changed, but I decided why bother if he won’t eat it or just picks at it. So now what to do with the crab I bought earlier from Trader Joes. It was pre-packaged in the refrigerator section, so I didn’t have to use it yesterday, but I thought I would anyway, as I was now in the mood for it. I had a distant memory of crab enchiladas I made many years ago. I dug up the recipe and didn’t like how it looked (tastes change over time!). Then my husband and I both found a recipe online that looked pretty good for crab and avocado enchiladas, but it had a white sauce in and on it, which was not what I was thinking, I was thinking a green tomatillo sauce, so I created my own recipe. I was in a tremendous hurry and didn’t have a lot of confidence this would turn out to be worthy of this blog, so I didn’t take pictures. Nevertheless it was pretty tasty so I will post the recipe (best as I can remember). I will probably tweak it in the future and I will post that when/if I do. I have a feeling this would be just as good without the crab and just vegetables (adding a few more mushrooms and doubling the spinach).

Ingredients:

• 1 fresh ear of corn with husk still on it 
• 1 small yellow or sweet onion, chopped
• 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped finely
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped (in addition a jalapeño would be great as well if no one you are cooking for is afraid of spicy food)
• 3 large mushrooms, diced
• 1- 12 oz package of fresh spinach, chopped
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano (or a little more of this and all spices)
• 2 teaspoons chile powder
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• salt and pepper to taste
• 16 oz crabmeat — I used Chicken of the Sea pre-packaged lump crabmeat in the refrigerator section of Trader Joes. Fresh would be better but more time-consuming and more expensive, not to mention that crab is not currently in season here — yeah, I know this is a “seasonal” cooking blog…but I am not perfect.
• 1 1/2 cups shredded mixed Mexican cheese (1 cup for filling and ½ cup or so to top enchiladas with).
• 8–12 tortillas — I used some corn and flour hybrid tortillas and some flour tortillas because they are easier to handle than plain corn, but enchiladas are traditionally made with corn tortillas. The corn-flour ones were pretty small so I used about 10 tortillas total.
• 2 cups (at least) of Tomatillo Sauce –NOTE: I knew I couldn’t make the enchiladas plus a sauce from scratch on a Monday night so I bought 2 packages of “Frontera Brand Green Chile Enchilada Sauce” (see picture below). It was pretty good actually but my son found it spicy (I disagree) — Here are links for two homemade tomatillo sauces from Cooking Light that I have made previously that I think would be very good in this recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/classic-salsa-verde or http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/green-chile-sauce
• 1 avocado, diced
• 1 tomato, diced
• 1 jalapeño, diced

The sauce I used due to time constraints — quite good!

Procedure:

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Microwave the corn in the husk for a few minutes until corn is tender. Cool and then cut kernels off the cob. Set aside.
3. Chop onion, garlic, red pepper (jalapeño if using), mushrooms, and spinach.
4. Heat a large skillet with a tablespoon or so of olive oil.
5. Sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper for 5 minutes in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook a few minutes longer until the mushroom water evaporates some. Add the chopped spinach and season with salt and pepper, oregano, chile pepper and cumin. Stir well and cook for a few more minutes or until the spinach wilts. 
6. Remove the mixture from the heat and put into a large mixing bowl. Add crab and cheese and stir well. 
7. Spoon a few tablespoons of tomatillo sauce onto bottom of greased baking dish.
8. Heat up tortillas (so they don’t crack when rolled).
9. Spoon crab and vegetable mixture into tortillas. Roll them and place them seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until all the crab mixture is used up.
10. Pour tomatillo sauce over enchiladas until it comes at least half-way up the enchiladas. Sprinkle desired amount of cheese over the top of the enchiladas (about ½ cup). Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown a bit and sauce is bubbly.
11. Remove from oven and top with chopped avocado, tomatoes, and jalapeno. Serve and enjoy!

The crab and tomatillo sauce pairs nicely with a bright citrusy white wine such as a Chablis or a Sauvignon Blanc.