I'm excited because Tuesday was our first cooking class in a series at the North Carolina Aquarium. We've attended these for the past two years and I've been eagerly anticipating the start of this year's series. Chefs Todd Riddick and Jim Smith of Mama Kwan's Grill and Tiki Bar presented the demonstration. And lookee!
A lei, a mug, a T-shirt! Ah. The bar is raised. Today's meal is Seafood Enchilada. Listen up, Ange in Wisconsin. You're going to like this. Ange in Wisconsin often challenges me with her Just Ask Rosie questions. And back in December, Ange wanted Rosie to make enchiladas and lasagna. Here's my first attempt. Then I made a shrimp enchilada which according to Wikipedia is questionable. My third attempt. And here's the lasagna I made. Back to Mama Kwan's cooking demo.
I snapped a shot of some of the ingredients on the counter. Heavy cream, Sriracha Sauce, kidney beans, cilantro, onions, peppers, tomatoes, lemons, limes, Romaine, green onions, and tortillas. I haven't mentioned this before in my posts about these classes, but before we actually start on the cooking demonstration, Beth, the wonderful, efficient, and knowledgeable NC Aquarium Activities/Program Coordinator/Educator, always explains the fish in question. She presents an extremely informative, enlightening, and interesting discourse on the seafood. For example, I learned that rockfish are anadromous. That means they live in the ocean, but spawn in rivers. In fact, fish are classified as to their migration patterns. From Wiki:
Classification of horizontally migrating fish:
- potamodromous fish migrate within fresh water only (Greek: Potamos is river and dromos is 'a running').
- oceanodromous fish migrate within salt water only (Greek: 'Oceanos' is ocean).
- diadromous fish travel between salt and fresh water (Greek: 'Dia' is between).
- anadromous fish live in the ocean mostly, and breed in fresh water (Greek: 'Ana' is up; The noun is "anadromy")
- catadromous fish live in fresh water, and breed in the ocean (Greek: 'Kata' is down)
- amphidromous fish move between fresh and salt water during their life cycle, but not to breed (Greek: 'Amphi' is both)
In the bowl above are the beginnings of the enchilada filling. It's cream cheese with a sauteed onion mixture. Chef Riddick, commentator, (Sadly, he was out of commission for cooking due to the cast on his right hand.) reiterated Beth's comments about sustainable fisheries, management of fisheries for long-term viability, the importance of buying fish caught locally, and adherence to seafood availability. Check here to see the 2009 stock status of coastal NC fisheries. No recipe, per se, was given, but I'll have some instructions at the end - my interpretation of what Chefs Riddick and Smith did and Beth's frantic printing on the computer/overhead projector-like thingie while Chef Riddick was giving her the ingredients list. Good job, Beth on a totally user-UNFRIENDLY, (Microsoft, I'm sure) piece of software carnage. Oh wait! I meant the software is carnage. Not Beth's use of it. She was extremely adept. They're serving about 20 enchiladas here and Beth is putting up the ingredients for 10 enchiladas.
First, the ingredients for 10 servings: 2 lbs cream cheese 2 cups shredded pepper jack 1 qt heavy cream garlic 1 cup white wine 3 lb rockfish butter lemons limes 1/2 cup fresh cilantro 1/2 cup scallions 1 jalapeno, fine dice 2 peppers (The chefs used yellow and orange.) sweet onion 3 tomatoes 1 head of romaine tortillas I doubt if any of you out there would be making ten servings of this, so adjust accordingly. Taste as you go along. You know - cook. It ain't rocket science. Here's the method: Basically you're going to saute your onions and add them to cream cheese, then saute the peppers and add to the cream cheese. Next, cook your rockfish and combine it with the cream cheese, sauteed onions and peppers, and fill the tortillas with the mixture. A cheese and cream sauce (Alfredo) is poured over top. More cheddar/jack cheese is sprinkled, then it goes back into the oven to melt the cheese. The enchilada is served over a bed of rice and beans. Sriracha sauce, enchilada sauce, chopped tomatoes and romaine accompany the enchiladas. Chef Jim Smith preps the veggies. Let's start with the Alfredo Sauce: Melt some butter. Add a few minced cloves of garlic. Add in heavy cream Bring to a boil, whisking. Add shredded cheddar/jack cheese slowly, whisking, to melt. Done. Keep warm. If you need help with amounts, just Google Alfredo Sauce. Here's one: Alfredo Sauce. Instead of Parmesan, sub cheddar/jack. And here are a bunch more. Now, for the rockfish: Put your rockfish in a buttered baking dish. Add white wine and dot with butter. Add salt and pepper, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and lime and/or lemon. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Chef Smith prepares the seafood. It's rockfish, AKA striped bass. He's adding butter, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cayenne, lime/lemon juice, white wine, salt and pepper. Next, let's start on the filling for the enchiladas: Disclaimer: For the following semi/half-assed "recipes," I offer suggested amounts of ingredients for the enchiladas. The chefs from Mama Kwan's made about 20 enchiladas. I'm trying to adjust to two - four (?) servings for you. As always, you taste as you go along. Build up your flavors the way you like. My amounts are merely suggestions. Saute in oil/butter: onion, chopped (1) garlic, minced (2-3 cloves) cumin (maybe a tsp) salt and pepper (a sprinkling of freshly ground) 5-7 minutes Add mixture to room-temperature cream cheese (maybe 1 - 2 packages) Saute: chopped pepper (Maybe 1/4 each red, orange, yellow, green) green onions (2) cilantro (to taste) 2-3 minutes Add in juice of one lime. Add mixture to cream cheese and onion mixture. After cooking the rockfish, add it hot to the cream cheese mixture and mix well. Add more cilantro. Thusly. The filling for the enchiladas is ready. Start on the beans: Saute: jalapeno (One, if you like it hot.) cilantro salt and pepper Add chicken base to intensify. (Chicken base is kinda like a bouillon except it's a paste.) cumin (1/2 tsp) garlic (2-3 cloves, minced) kidney beans, cooked (1 - 2 cups) Add water to cover beans. Simmer a bit. Keep warm.
Back right is the bean thingy. I'm still trying to remember what was front left. Maybe just the skillet with a wisp of oil to slightly tan the tortillas.Assembly: Check list: tortillas cream cheese/onion/pepper/rockfish mixture bean mixture Jasmine rice chopped tomatoes chopped (I prefer torn.) Romaine The tortillas were heated in a skillet first, a slight film of oil. Then filled. I video'd Chef Smith's rolling technique. Roll up rockfish/cream cheese mixture in tortilla. Top with Alfredo sauce, sprinkle with cheddar/jack cheeses and back into the oven to melt. About 10 minutes. While the enchiladas were heating up, the chefs started plating the dishes. An ice cream scoop of rice. Scoop of the bean mixture on top of that. A squiggly embellishment of sriracha on the plate. A sprinkling of cayenne, paprika, and I swear I thought he said nutmeg, around the outside of the plate.
Then the enchilada was carefully placed so it was leaning against the pile of rice and beans. Enhance with enchilada sauce, a sprinkling of cheese, and chopped tomatoes and chopped romaine.
I thought this was a lovely presentation. BUUUUUTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!! Let me just tell you this, Chefs: I like the little capricious designs and florishes and embellishments on the plate/presentation, but for CRYING OUT LOUD, give me the pretty colors in a cup so I can dip. And indulge.
See the sauce on upper left? The "enchilada sauce?" The chefs were pretty much MUM on that. I asked about it: "Hmmmm. Butter and flour. You know. A roux. Then some enchilada seasonings." Imonna hafta check out Sandra Lee and her enchilada seasoning packets.
Enchiladas filled with a rockfish/cream cheese/onion/garlic/ pepper/cilantro mixture topped with Alfredo sauce and grated cheddar and jack cheeses. A scoop of rice. The bean mixture on top. The enchilada with rockfish, cream cheese, onion, pepper mixture. The romaine and tomato. The miscellaneous cheese gratings. Some cumin, maybe nutmeg, and some cayenne sprinkled on the outside of the plate.
I'll let you know when I reproduce the enchilada sauce. Shouldn't be too hard. Butter and flour to make a roux, then whisk in some chicken stock and assorted seasonings. I'm thinking chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin. Who knows? Maybe I'll throw in a dash of cinnamon. Rosie can be bad. These enchiladas would be excellent with shrimp, crab meat, or chicken. Bon appetit!