What's in the pancake around the swordfish?

Mexican cooking has become quite a fascination for me. I have been working at the local 'Mexican' restaurant for a couple of months now - that's long-term career for me. It is run by Costa Ricans - which for me is Mexican food only better. We do not use blue corn tortillas at the restaurant. But the son of my boss is in my TAFE class, and he used it in his final menu.

When we design the final menu we are warned about repeating: flavours, ingredients, textures, colours, shapes and so on. So the blue corn enchiladas were useful in avoiding all sorts of repetition. The blue corn gives the tortilla not just a new colour, but also changes the flavour of the traditional corn tortilla, making it nuttier, almost sweeter - everything you would hope 'blue' would imply and a little bit more.

Corn was the wheat of the New World for thousands of years. The Incas, Mayas and Aztecs used many colours of corn as part of their staple diet. It is still important in South America and in the Southwest.

Traditionally it is used in corn tortillas or corn chips. But increasingly it is being used in muffins, pancakes, dumplings and so forth. The following recipe uses the tortilla already made up. It is possible to find the blue cornmeal or tortillas at specialty shops. You will have to do some legwork to find the blue cornmeal or the ready-made tortillas, but it is worth it. To make the tortillas, check out Anthropod's writeup here.

(4 portions)


For the enchiladas
Pan-fry the swordfish steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side. When cool, flake the fish into a bowl, removing the skin and the bone(s). Heat the oil in a pan to sweat the garlic and onion (they should turn translucent and not go brown). Add the swordfish, cumin, lemon juice and finely chopped parsley. Cook for about a minute.
Brush the tortilla with oil and lightly grill each side until they are soft and easy to fold. Place a quarter of the mixture the middle of each tortilla. Roll it up to make an enchilada. This is a bit fiddly and needs some practice - (I'll keep working on my instructions too):
The mixture should lie as a rectangle in the middle of the tortilla. Leave a border around the mixture on the tortilla. Fold one of the 'flaps' of the tortilla of the longer side across the mixture. Tuck it in under the mixture (just a tad). Fold the remaining 'flap' of the tortilla on top of this. Give it a gentle squish down and then turn the tortilla over. You should have a little roll/ tube of blue corn enchilada filled with swordfish mixture with a smooth surface facing you. Underneath should have the mixture encased above the two flaps of the tortilla. At this point the ends will be open. Gently place your fingers on the ends and push them down and in. This should compact the tortilla into an enchilada.
Top with crushed tomatoes and cheese and grill until melted.

For the salsa
Chop the onion finely and soak in the lime juice. Remove the stalks and the seeds of the chilli and chop finely. Remember that chillis vary in heat and so do individual tastes. Blanch the tomatoes and remove the skin and seeds. Chop the tomatoes place in a bowl and add the onion/ lime juice, chillis and finely chopped coriander. Mix well.

For the rice
Heat the oil in a saucepan at medium heat, sweat off the diced onion, then add the rice, saffron and salt. Stir well. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil while stirring occasionally. Place lid on saucepan and simmer on low heat for approximately 15 minutes.

http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/h-226.html (Last visited: 2 Jun 2004)
http://www.bhg.com.au/food.nsf/Content/bhg_article_aug02_corn (Last visited: 2 Jun 2004)

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