Dungeness Crab Enchiladas

Winter time is Dungeness crab season on the west coast. Dungeness crab is just about the perfect crab when it comes to culinary greatness. They are far sweeter and more flavorful than the more familiar King Crab. They are larger than east coast varieties of crab, and they are the meatiest crabs in the sea.

They are widely available pre-cooked at most grocery stores (Whole Foods and Safeway I know offer pre-cooked crabs). When you buy them pre-cooked, the stores also clean and crack the crabs for you which is mighty convenient. Since these enchiladas don’t call for the crab to be cooked in any special seasonings, I highly recommend the pre-cooked crabs.

Finally, for those of you who are gluten intolerant, I use the supersize corn tortillas. Traditional enchiladas are supposed to be made with corn instead of flour tortillas, anyway.

Ingredients

  • 1 Dungeness crab, cracked and cleaned (see the note about buying pre-cooked above)
  • 1 28 oz can green enchilada sauce (get the degree of spiciness to suite your taste)
  • 1 8 oz bag of shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 2 cups napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 14 oz can black beans
  • corn tortillas

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. De-shell the crab meat.
  3. Place a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in the oven. Place one tortilla on the cookie sheet and let heat for 2 minutes. This softens the tortillas and makes them flexible so they can be wrapped.
  4. Remove the tortilla, add a new one to the oven, and place a small amount of crab, cabbage, and black beans in the center of the heated one. Roll closed and place in a glass baking dish.
  5. Continue until you have used all of the crab meat. One dungeness crab should make about 8-12 enchiladas.
  6. Top the enchiladas with the green enchilada sauce.
  7. Cover generously with the cheese.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes.

How Not to Screw It Up

  1. You absolutely must heat the tortillas for 1-2 minutes before filling and folding. If you do not, they will break open. I’ve tried multiple ways of heating the tortillas including the microwave (as the instructions on the package say to do), and the only way that makes them pliable enough is heating them in the oven.
  2. Don’t overfill the enchiladas. You need less filling than you think. Too much will just ooze out or break open the tortilla. Don’t get greedy, just make more enchiladas not fewer humongous ones.
  3. Be generous with the enchilada sauce. Make sure that every millimeter of tortilla is covered in the stuff. If you don’t, you’ll end up with an enchilada that is partially dried and possibly with a slightly burnt tortilla. Love the sauce.