Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Eggplant-Almond Enchiladas

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

You could call me an enchilada enthusiast. I like them in all their varied forms: from straight-up Mexican recreations like these enchiladas from Rick Bayless to the baked Tex-Mex variety.

But I can safely say I've never thought about eggplant enchiladas. Ever. That is, until I stumbled upon this recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook. The more I looked at it, the more it actually reminded me of a pork picadillo filling I once made for chiles rellanos. Of course, this contains no meat. But the combination of cheese, spices, and especially almonds, seemed right on. I couldn't wait to see where this would end up.

These vegetarian enchiladas come out meaty and filling, with just a tinge of heat. Oddly, since the Moosewood Cookbook cares about healthy cooking, this dish is way more balanced than most baked enchiladas. Too many Tex-Mex versions of this dish blanket the tortillas in cheese. Restraint helps in this case. It's delicious.

The only change I made was frying the tortillas briefly in oil, instead of just dampening them with water. I've made enchiladas one too many times to do anything else. If you don't fry the tortillas they tend to turn to mush once covered in sauce and baked in the oven. Don't fear the oil. It'll help the tortillas stay together.

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