If you want to make a summer casserole, this is IT. This dish incorporates wonderful summer corn, zucchini, tomatoes, and Swiss chard. I threw in all of my beet greens too. 🙂 This dish was originally named Layered Tortilla-Tomato Casserole with Greens and Melted Cheese in Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant Flavors of a World-Class Cuisine by Rick Bayless (one of my absolute favorite chefs). I adapted the recipe by adding more tortillas and vegetables, and by steaming the corn tortillas rather than frying them in oil. FABULOUS!!!
Great to feed the crowd at Fiesta Friday #26 at The Novice Gardener!
Yield: Serves 8 as a main dish
For the 6 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
- 8-12 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (or 3/4 oz -about 9 to 12- stemmed, dried chipotle chiles)
- 12 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 4 1/2 pounds (9 medium-large round or 28 to 34 plum) ripe tomatoes
- 2 T vegetable oil
- coarse salt, about 2 tsp
For the Casserole:
- 6 to 8 cups loosely packed spinach or 1/2-inch long sliced chard leaves (12-oz bunch) (I also included 1 bunch of beet greens)
- 2 medium (12 oz total) zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 medium ears corn, husked, kernels cup from the cob
- 1 pound (about 4 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese or other melting cheese
- 16-20 corn tortillas
- about 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
To Make the Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
- For the canned chiles, simply remove from the adobo sauce. For dried chiles, toast them on an ungreased griddle or skillet over medium heat, turning regularly, and pressing flat with a spatula, until very aromatic, about 30 seconds. In a small bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking. Drain and discard the water.
- While the chiles are soaking, roast the unpeeled garlic on the griddle or skillet, turning occasionally, until soft (they will blacken in spots), about 10 to 15 minutes; cool and peel.
- Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 6 minutes, then turn and roast the other side. Cool, then peel, collecting all the juices with the tomatoes.
- Working in batches, in a food processor or blender, process the tomatoes with their juices, rehydrated or canned chiles and garlic to a medium-fine puree.
- Heat the 2 T of oil in a medium-size (4-quart) heavy pot over medium heat. Add the tomato puree and stir nearly constantly for 8 to 10 minutes as it sears and thickens.
- Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 1/2 teaspoons.
To Prepare the Vegetables:
- In a vegetable steamer, steam the greens, covered, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes for spinach, chard, and/or beet greens. (I steamed the greens in the pasta pot using the large insert.) Immediately spread out on a baking sheet to cool, then roughly chop.
- Steam the diced zucchini until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes, then spread out to cool.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with 1/4 tsp of salt.
- Set out the corn, tomato sauce, and shredded cheese.
To Prepare the Tortillas:
- Place 5 tortillas at a time in a tortilla warmer or on a microwave safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel, followed by the lid of the warmer or plastic wrap for the plate. Microwave on high for 1 minute to make warm and pliable. Cut in half. (I did this as I prepared each layer of the casserole.)
To Make the Casserole:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom, then lay out 8-10 tortilla halves in a single layer, arranging them to cover as much sauce as possible.
- Evenly spread on the greens, a scant 1 1/2 cups of sauce and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
- Top with another layer of 8-10 tortilla halves. Spread on the corn and the same amount of sauce and cheese.
- Top with a third layer of 8-10 tortilla halves, the zucchini, and another round of sauce and cheese.
- Top with remaining 8-11 tortilla halves, lightly brush or spray the tortillas with extra-virgin olive oil, and top with remaining sauce and cheese.
- Cover lightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbling and lightly browned.
- Let stand for a few minutes before cutting into squares. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, then use a spatula (preferably a squared-off metal one) to transfer the pieces to warm serving plates.
One Year Ago:
- Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas with Creamy Tomatillo Sauce and Melted Cheese
- Mexican Scrambled Egg & Bacon NYSSMA Celebration Tacos