Rockshrimp in Seattle
Hello. I am new to town and need some advice. One of my "signature dishes" is potato and rock shrimp enchiladas. I've got a craving and want to make it! Is rock shrimp readily available in Seattle? What market would be my best bet for finding some?
What about a good selection of Mexican cheeses?
Thanks for the help!
Just head down to the market. You may not find rock shrimp, but some kind of shrimp are probably available. I am not sure about a good selection on the cheese, but there are also a couple of small Mexican grocers.
That does sound really good. Any chance you want to share the recipe?
Hmmm ... It is fairly easy, and I make it up as I go along, but here are the basics:
For the filling, Yukon Gold potatoes (or similar) diced rather small and boiled just a bit; chopped, roasted poblano pepper; chopped shrimp (best with rock shrimp); diced onion; garlic; crumbled queso enchilado. With the right cheese and the right shrimp, you don't need much of either to get a really great flavor. You want the filling to be pretty dry, though it won't really be too tight.
For the sauce, I cheat completely! (Giving away my best secret here, but since I don't know anyone in Seattle, yet, I guess it will be OK.) I make a chiptle cream sauce by warming a good amount of heavy cream, then whisking in some "Arriba!" brand "Fire Roasted Mexican Chipotle Salsa." I was thrilled when I found that this sauce is so easy to find here.
To assemble, heat some vegetable oil in a small skillet, oil a baking dish, and spoon a little bit of the sauce into the bottom. With tongs, dip corn tortillas one at a time in the hot oil, frying just until soft. Transfer the tortilla to the prepared baking dish, spoon in some filling, and roll up. (You WILL burn your fingers putting these together -- but it's worth it.) Continue with the rest of your tortillas, packing them into the pan fairly closely, but not too tight. Sometimes I spoon a bit of the sauce over the enchiladas before baking, but this can make them a little soggy. You could also sprinke a bit more cheese if you like.
Cover and bake them in a moderate oven until the cheese is a little bubbly (queso enchilado is a hard cheese that doesn't really get "gooey" ) and the shrimp are cooked -- doesn't take all that long.
I usually serve the enchiladas on a generous bed of shredded spinach, with a really big spoonful of the sauce on top, along with some more crumbled cheese.
Make some really good rice with carrots, peas, and lime to serve alongside and you have a pretty delicious meal.
Hope this all makes sense.
I've seen rock shrimp many times just at regular grocery stores (Ballard Market, even little Ken's Market on Greenwood), but since I rarely buy them, I don't know if I only see them during a certain season or if they're available all the time. I'd call your nearest store and ask.
I'm not familiar with Mexican cheeses beside Cojita, which every place has, but again, I'd try calling places that have good cheese sections like Whole Foods, or Mexican grocery stores, and ask if you're looking for something lesser known.
I was in the Mexican grocery in the Market yesterday (sorry - don't remember the name - I just refer to it as the "Tamale Place") and they had several cheeses in their cooler. It is across the street from the Market a few doors down from Beecher's Cheeses. Don't know if they had the exact cheese you are looking for.
I'd check out South Park.
Even if they don't have what you seek, this is an interesting visit.
Go down 99, a ~half-mile south of the 1st South bridge to the 14th S bridge, labeled South Park Bridge as you travel south through the industrial heart of Boeing. The Mexi-Mart is a definite possibility. If they don't have it, they will surely know who does, but you will need to speak Spanish to understand the answer. A very fun trip and an opportunity to eat at Muy Macho, which has great tacos and chiles relleno.
Central Market in Shoreline used to carry rock shrimp regularly until Katrina hit. Since then, its been sparse but they have been selling them lately again, but because of the supply issue have been a bit pricy at about $19.00/lb (peeled and deveined). Unfortunately, although their cheese selection is good, I don't remember seeing many (any?) Mexican cheeses. The Greenlake PCC does regularly carry queso fresco (and I think enchilado), so if you're planning on taking the trip to Shoreline, it might be a good idea to stop there as its on 99.
South Park sounds like the place to go. I'll have to check it out.
It's not rock shrimp, but the great fish bargain in most fish markets in Seattle is precooked and shelled, small shrimp from Oregon or sometimes Canada at 5 or 6 dollars a pound. Much of the year it's fresh not frozen so it'll taste as good as those fresh Rock Shrimp you got further south.
There are also Hood canal local shrimp, but that's a short season and hard to find outside of Pike Place market. There you'll also find spotted shrimp from Alaska. Not the corrugated shell, but interesting and not the typical shrimp taste.