|Krab enchiladas – do not attempt without proper supervision. © Ryan Schierling|
And so it was. Krab (aka Sea Legs or Ocean Sticks) – constructed primarily from Alaska pollock, egg white, crab flavoring and red food coloring – was what we got at the grocer in Emporia, Kansas. Mom made these enchiladas with flour tortillas, jack cheese and a white sauce. Think enchiladas suizas, middle-of-the-midwest-style.
I don't make them exactly the way mom did. I've tried lump crab meat and cod, and both taste a little fancier than they should for this preparation. This is, in a sense, modern day depression-era cooking – trying to make something elaborate out of an amalgam. The cream cheese tempers the whole dish well, adding a perceived richness that the faux crab doesn't provide on its own. Kind of like pulling up to Red Lobster for senior prom in a limo that you really can't afford.
So I did switch up the filling up a little and bossed-out the garnish, but had to stay true to the shockingly-red Krab sticks, which are a little like sweet, sweet crabby-flavored string cheese. Don't hate me for loving these.
1 package Krab (leg-style)
16-ounces cream cheese, softened
16-ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
8 corn tortillas
1 15-ounce can store-bought green enchilada sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
Jalapeño-stuffed green olives
Crushed red pepper flakes
For the enchilada filling: Mix the softened cream cheese and shredded Monterrey Jack cheese with lemon juice. Chop the green onion. Separate Krab sticks into... sticks.
For the enchilada sauce: Mix the can of green enchilada sauce with 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Lay down a skiff of enchilada sauce in the casserole. Heat the corn tortillas one at a time, filling with a good amount of cream cheese mixture, one Krab leg and a sprinkle of green onion. Roll tightly and place into the baking dish. Once you've filled up the casserole (about 8 enchiladas), top generously with more sauce and garnish with sliced jalapeño-stuffed olives and crushed red pepper flakes. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes until sauce is bubbling around the edges of the enchiladas.
Don't tell anyone what you've just done.