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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Transform tortillas into seafood treat

Since I’m not the biggest Mexican food eating fan, enchiladas tend to be my go-to dish when we eat out. This simply prepared dish consist of a meat or cheese filling wrapped in a tortilla. It is then topped with either a red, green or cheese sauce. Today, I want to give these Mexican staples a New Orleans twist.

Wrapping seafood in tortillas is a simple way to transform traditional tortillas into Creole/Cajun treats. Today I am sharing two enchilada recipes, Crabmeat & Shrimp Enchiladas and Crawfish Enchiladas. You will not find versions of these dishes in restaurants locally. So to enjoy them, it’s time to head to the kitchen.

This is my recreation of my favorite dish from the now closed ChiChi’s restaurant. Since I’m not a big Mexican food lover, this dish appealed to my New Orleans taste. The original dish was made with imitation crab, which is a flavored fish product. When recreating my version, I chose to replace the inferior imitation crab with real crabmeat. The result was the best version of this dish I ever tasted. See if you agree.

Crabmeat & Shrimp Enchiladas

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon Butter

1/2 pound fresh crabmeat, picked thru for shells

1/2 pound shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined and coarsely chopped

Creole seasoning to taste

8 ounces Colby cheese

6 (10-inch) tortillas

1 cup half & half

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven ot 350℉.

In a large skillet, sauté onions in 1 tablespoon of butter until transparent. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the seafood. Season with Creole seasoning. Shred the cheese and mix half of it into the seafood. Place a large spoonful of the seafood mixture into each tortilla. Roll the tortillas up around the mixture and arrange the rolled tortillas in a 9×13-inch baking dish.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine half & half, sour cream, melted butter, parsley and garlic salt. Stir until the mixture is lukewarm and blended. Pour sauce over the enchiladas, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

This Cajun/Mexican fusion seems to be a natural combination. Shrimp are found on Mexican menus here in Arkansas. Crawfish also makes a great filling inside a tortilla. Give it a try and you decide.

Crawfish Enchiladas

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1 (14oz can) Rotel tomatoes, drained

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup half and half

1 pound crawfish tails

1 teaspoon chili powder

4 ounces cheese spread

Creole seasoning, to taste

16 (6-inch) flour tortillas

4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350℉.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Sauté onions, garlic and bell pepper in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Add both tomatoes. Stir in the flour and gradually add the half and half. Add the crawfish tails and chili powder, cooking until boiling and thickened. Reduce heat and stir in the cheese spread until melted. Season to taste. Divide the mixture (about 1/4 cup each) among the tortillas, roll and lay in a baking dish coated with non-stick spray. Pour any extra sauce on top of enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until heated and cheese is melted.

Making enchiladas at home is a great family meal. It’s also a great way to introduce children to the joys of cooking. So, save a trip to the Mexican restaurant. Make some enchiladas at home. You can have Cinco de Mayo any day.

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