This might just be as close as I can get to fusing Mexican and Swiss cuisines. Have you heard of Enchiladas Suizas? The Enchiladas topped with Swiss cheese or a béchamel-like sauce. This creation was influenced by the Swiss immigrants to Mexico after they started dairies to produce milk and cheese in their new home country.
I have always been supportive of immigration, but living as an expat in Switzerland has evoked a whole new level of compassion and sympathy for what immigrants have to go through to make a home in a new country, assimilate to a new culture and language, and be accepted alongside their native neighbors. I think those who assimilate well find ways to integrate their old identity with their new identity, appreciating both where they come from and where they are building a new life. In fact, research has shown us that measures of assimilation include assessing the way people eat because it says a lot about how much they embrace their new surroundings.
The enchiladas suizas lead me to think the Swiss assimilated pretty well in Mexico. My take on this dish is a lazy tortilla casserole version where corn tortillas are layered with hominy, a tangy and spicy tomatillo sauce, and Swiss cheese. It is finished with toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) , cilantro, and pickled onions. I use canned tomatillos, but if you have access to fresh tomatillos please use them! Just don't tell me about it because I'll be jealous.
Tomatillo Tortilla Casserole
Inspired by Rachael Ray
28 oz can tomatillos, drained (or 10 large/20 small fresh tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed)
2 tsp. ground coriander
3 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground chipotle powder
1/2 red chili (or jalapeno)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1/2 juicy lime
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1 1/2 cups cooked hominy (or 15 oz can, drained)
Remaining Casserole Ingredients
12 corn tortillas, toasted*
1 cup Swiss cheese (Emmentaler), grated
Pickled onions (this recipe is a favorite)
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C).
To make the sauce, add the first 6 ingredients to the food processor. Process until smooth.
Melt ghee in a large saute pan over medium heat and saute onion and garlic until starting to soften (1-2 minutes). Stir in sauce and lower heat to simmer to warm through and wake up spices (3 minutes).
In the meantime add avocado, lime juice, and cilantro to the food processor (no need to clean the bowl). Process until smooth, then stir into the tomatillo sauce along with honey and hominy. Warm through for a few minutes, taste and adjust for seasoning adding more salt, honey, or lime if necessary. Remove from heat.
In a 9x13" baking dish or something of similar dimensions layer sauce, 4 tortillas, sauce, and cheese. Repeat process 2 more times ending with cheese. Cover with foil and bake in oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil and turn oven to broil. Broil until cheese is starting to brown (~3 min).
Top with pickled onions, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro and serve.
*Toast tortillas in a 400 F (~205 C) until starting to dry out and become somewhat crisp, making sure to turn over half way through (~5-7 minutes total). Alternatively you can toast tortillas on the stove in a dry skillet.
This week I am sharing my quick but tasty version of Enchiladas Suizas with Deena for her Fabulous Fusion Food series.
I am also sending it over to Deliceux and Eat Your Veg's Four Seasons Food "Cook from the heart" February challenge because I make this and other Mexican-inspired dishes especially for my husband - he can never get enough Mexican food, especially here, and I know how happy it makes him when vibrant, spicy, and comforting Mexican flavors are on the table.