Seafood enchilada is a modernized version of the traditional Spanish dish of enchilada, which is most commonly prepared with chicken. Basically, in this preparation a combination of seafood like crabs, scallops, shrimps, squids and varieties of other sea fishes may be used, or, only one or just a few of these seafood varieties may be included. The basic preparation of seafood enchiladas calls for spooning in a cooked mixture of seafood inside corn or wheat tortilla rolls, covering them in a sauce and then, baking the combination. Just like in any traditional enchilada preparation, the dish also incorporates cheese and a chili pepper sauce, called the enchilada sauce as two of the most important ingredients. Besides, a typical seafood enchilada may also include vegetables, spices, herbs, cream, beans or potatoes or a combination of all of these.
Popular Versions of Seafood Enchilada
1. Rich and Creamy Seafood Enchilada with Shrimp, Crab and Scallop
Ingredients: Cooked crab, shrimp and scallop; onion, butter, sour cream, all-purpose flour, lightly beaten eggs, corn tortillas, Mexican cheese blend, chilies, coriander, chicken broth, and pepper.
Preparation: The onion and garlic are sautéed in butter and combined with flour and sour cream to form a smooth mixture. The mixture is then combined further with egg, chilies, pepper, coriander and chicken broth and simmered into a thick, spicy sauce. Cheese is added to introduce more creaminess to the sauce. A pre-cooked mixture of crab, shrimp and scallop is then rolled inside the tortillas along with some of the freshly prepared sauce. The rolls are placed inside a baking tray and covered with the rest of the sauce. This preparation is then baked until the cheese melts.
2. Seafood Enchilada with Salsa and Cream of Chicken Soup
Ingredients: Pre-cooked crabmeat flakes and shrimp, butter, all-purpose flour, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, salsa, cottage cheese, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, green chilies, dried cilantro flakes and flour tortillas.
Preparation: Butter is melted and stirred with flour into a smooth mixture and simmered with the soup and broth to form a thick sauce. The sauce is then further thickened with sour cream, seasoned and spiced up with the addition of salsa. This makes the enchilada sauce. The tortilla filling is prepared by mixing the cooked seafood along with smooth blended cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro and chilies. The tortillas are rolled with this filling, placed in a baking dish, covered with the sauce and baked.
3. Betty Crocker Seafood Enchilada
Ingredients: Butter, garlic, onion, all-purpose flour, chicken or fish or vegetable stock, sour cream, Mexican cheese blend, green chilies, scallops, cooked crabmeat flakes, John Dory or any other firm white fish fillets, flour tortillas, cilantro, avocado and tomatoes.
Preparation: Onions and garlic are butter sautéed and stir cooked with flour. Broth is added into this mixture and simmered. The scallops, fish fillets and shrimps are poached in this simmering concoction until the fish starts to flake and the scallops and shrimps become opaque. This preparation is then removed from the flame and the sauce is then cooked by combining sour cream, cheese and chilies. The seafood mixture is spooned on the tortillas. The tortillas are rolled up and placed inside the baking dish covered with the sauce. The dish is then baked. Betty Crocker suggests serving this dish warm with tomatoes, cilantro and avocado.
Unique Seafood Enchilada Recipe Variation
Seafood Enchilada Casserole
Ingredients: Chili powder, whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, crushed garlic, oregano, tomato sauce, tilapia cubes, corn kernels, black beans, pico de gallo, Greek yogurt, shredded, Mexican Cheese and whole wheat tortillas.
Preparation: This seafood enchilada recipe calls for cooking a thick and spicy sauce by simmering a mixture of tomato sauce, cocoa powder, oregano, garlic, flour and chili powder. The seafood filling is prepared by mixing together corn, tilapia, black beans, cheese, yogurt and pico de gallo. The unique thing about this seafood enchilada dish is that the tortillas are not rolled with the filling here. Instead, the baking pan is smothered with cooking spray and the tortillas are layered at its bottom. The filling is spread on top of them and some of the sauce in turn is spread evenly over the filling. Two or three layers are repeated in the same way and ended with the sauce layer. The topmost layer is covered with shredded cheese and the casserole is baked until the cheese melts.
Preferred Methods of Serving
Seafood enchilada is best served hot and with a topping of green onions, olives and tomato slices. The dish may also be served with salsa as accompaniment. It is generally eaten as a main course dish for lunch or dinner.
Single Serving: On an average, one serving of seafood enchilada yields about 531 calories, which is contributed by 40 g of fat ( with 22 g being saturated fat), 264 mg of cholesterol, 738 mg of sodium, 17 g of carbohydrate, about a gram of fiber and 27 g of protein. Adding salsa can add around 120 more calories to the dish.
General Nutritive Values: The seafood enchilada recipe, most often, calls for sour cream or whipping cream and cheese as a base for the enchilada sauce, which definitely makes the dish rich in calcium but at the same time increases its fat content, which makes the dish not-so-recommendable for people on weight loss diet. Interestingly, the main ingredient, i.e. the seafood itself is a low-calorie food. The tortilla bread itself on the other hand is a good source of carbohydrates while the whole wheat tortilla makes the dish healthier bringing in more fibers.
The dish becomes enriched with different kinds of vitamins and minerals depending on the kinds of vegetables and beans added. Seafood enchiladas are generally high in sodium content owing to the sodium present in seafood besides the salt content in other ingredients. However, one good way of lessening the sodium content of the dish is by replacing salt with lime juice. It is enriched with Vitamins A, B6, B12, Niacin, Biotin, potassium, zinc, iron and phosphorus. Canned sea fishes with bones like sardines and salmon are also enriched with calcium.
Nutrition from seafood: Most of the vitamins, minerals and proteins are derived from the key ingredient of the dish, i.e. the seafood itself. Seafood is a low in fat which makes the dish a good food option for the weight watchers, given the cream, butter, yogurt or milk used in the dish is also of low-fat variety. Most of the seafood fat is poly-unsaturated, which is good for health. As far as the protein content of seafood is concerned, it contains around 20% of the high quality protein yielded by poultry and red meat. Some general benefits of seafood are as follows:
- Diminishes the risk of heart problems
- Is known to prolong life-span post heart attack, improve functioning of the heart
- Lowers the levels of blood triglycerides (fats)
- May lower high blood pressure
Food Poisoning and Allergy: While seafood is generally healthy, it is of utmost importance that they are being cleaned thoroughly and cooked optimally to prevent any seafood poisoning. Fresh seafood is more recommended to be consumed rather than frozen varieties. On the other hand, while seafood enchilada is a reasonably healthy dish to consume, it is not recommended for people who are hypersensitive to seafood. Although in most cases, seafood allergies are mild to moderate leading to symptoms like hives and nasal congestion, in some cases, it can turn severe and life-threatening (anaphylaxis).