In season eight of the James Beard Award-winning Pati's Mexican Table, Pati Jinich explores the state of Sinaloa, along the northwestern coast of Mexico. She visits the state's capital city of Culiacán in the first episode and both tries and makes one of the city's specialties, enchiladas de suelo (their name translates to the intriguing "enchiladas from the floor"). Try her recipe for these open-faced, sauce-soaked, fried enchiladas.
Enchiladas de Suelo
Makes: 12 open enchiladas
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided, plus more for boiling water
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup slivered red onion
5 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 garlic clove
2 ripe tomatoes, divided, 1 whole and 1 cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped white onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into half-moons of about 1/2-inch
1 pound Mexican chorizo, casings removed, chopped
12 corn tortillas, store-bought or homemade
6 leaves of romaine lettuce, rinsed and thinly sliced
6 ounces (about 5 to 6) radishes, halved lengthwise and cut into half-moons of about 1/2-inch
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, cut into thin slices
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into slices
1 cup crumbled queso Cotija, ranchero, or fresco
1. In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with the vegetable oil, a teaspoon of salt, and a dash of black pepper. Add the red onion, stir, and let macerate for at least 15 minutes or while you prepare the rest of the dish.
2. Place the ancho chiles, garlic clove, and the whole tomato in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Set over medium-high heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the chiles have rehydrated and the tomato is cooked and mushy.
3. Transfer the chiles, tomato, and garlic clove, along with 1 cup of their cooking liquid, to a blender. Add the chopped onion, oregano, remaining tablespoon of vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and a dash of black pepper and puree until completely smooth. Pour into a medium skillet and set aside.
4. Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced zucchini and blanch for 30 seconds. Strain, or remove with a spider, and set aside in a bowl.
5. In a medium skillet or saute pan, fry the chorizo over medium-high heat, crumbling it into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, for about 6 minutes until crisp and brown. Add a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil if the chorizo doesn’t have enough fat to fry. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
6. Pour about 1/2-inch of vegetable oil in a large deep skillet set over medium heat. Once hot, dip each tortilla one-by-one into the ancho chile sauce until drenched, then gently place it into the hot oil and let fry for about 20 seconds, remove with a slotted spatula and set on a plate. Arrange 2 per person on dinner plates. Cover each tortilla with lettuce, zucchini, and radishes, and arrange slices of avocado, tomato, and cucumber on top. Finally, top with the chorizo, pickled red onions, and crumbled queso.