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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Asparagus Enchiladas

Or, something that sounds weird but tastes great.

Back in the days when I used to eat out a lot, we ate a lot at a place called Christopher's Nothing Fancy Cafe. One day when we went there (my kitchen remodel took place in spring), they had asparagus enchiladas on the specials board. It sounded weird but, hey, it was worth a try.

Turned out to be incredibly delicious. The combination of corn tortillas, salsa verde, and asparagus turned out to be great.

After I got a working kitchen and a job that didn't require me to work eighty-plus hour weeks, I read a Cook's Illustrated article about enchilada making. In it they said to prep the tortillas by spraying them with cooking spray and sticking them in a 400 F oven on a cooky sheet for 4 minutes. I was off to the races. I quickly tweaked the recipe to have the black beans inside as that saved on the quantity of cheese I used.

I am horrible about quantities as I eyeball everything. And the last time I made it (for the church dinner) I made sixty, so used what started out as 1.5 lb black beans dried and 8 lb asparagus (for about 20 cups' worth filling). For a dozen (the better to use up a package of tortillas) I use a BIG can of commercial green enchilada sauce, it seems like about a pound of Jack cheese, one can of cooked black beans, and the better part of a 2# bunch of asparagus. The asparagus can be cut into useful bits before stir-frying, or roasted in a 450 oven as spears for 6-8 minutes, then cut up.

I often stage the prep by grating cheese and making filling the day before assembly.

So here's the drill:

Preheat the oven to 400 or 450 (depending on whether you are roasting spears or heating tortillas)

Prepare filling by mixing cooked black beans and cooked asparagus together. The more asparagus the merrier.

Grate cheese (I love my food processor)

Pour green enchilada sauce in the pan and tilt so everything is covered

Spray tortillas on both sides with cooking spray and Heat up in 400 F oven on a cooky sheet.

Roll the enchiladas and place in pan. I use a 1/3 cup measure for the larger-sized corn tortillas and put a good tablespoon or so of cheese on top of the filling.

Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce evenly over top and use a wooden spoon to coat all tortillas as evenly as possible.

Top with more cheese if you like

350 oven for 25 or so minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

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planting asparagus
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