America is one big melting pot. Many different cultures are represented in the population of this great country. You can see great examples of these cultures in the ethnic restaurants that have opened locally and around the country. These immigrants have adapted their recipes with the local products they can find. Today, I will take two traditional ethnic recipes, one Mexican and one Italian, and using seafood, transform them into dishes that are different from what you would find in these different cultures.

Seafood enchiladas are not traditional New Orleans food. However, Mexican restaurants are abundant in the Crescent City, as they are here in Arkansas. By including great seafood in this traditional Mexican fare, you get comfort food from both worlds, North and South of the border.

Seafood Enchiladas

1 medium Onion, chopped

1 tablespoon Butter

1/4 pound fresh Crabmeat, picked thru for shells

1/4 pound Shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined and coarsely chopped

1/4 pound Crawfish tails, coarsely chopped

Creole Seasoning to taste

8 ounces Colby cheese

6 (10-inch) Tortillas

1 cup Half & Half

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1/4 cup Butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons dried Parsley

1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt

Preheat oven ot 350℉.

In a large skillet, sauté onions in 1 tablespoon of butter until transparent. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the seafood. Season with Creole seasoning. Shred the cheese and mix half of it into the seafood. Place a large spoonful of the seafood mixture into each tortilla. Roll the tortillas up around the mixture and arrange the rolled tortillas in a 9×13-inch baking dish.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine half & half, sour cream, melted butter, parsley and garlic salt. Stir until the mixture is lukewarm and blended. Pour sauce over the enchiladas, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Lasagna is Italian comfort food at its finest. In many restaurants in New Orleans, you can find lasagna made with seafood in a white sauce. Lasagna prepared this way takes your tastebuds on a trip to heaven. This recipe is basically a Shrimp Alfredo, that is layered with seafood goodness. Feel free to substitute your favorite seafood in this dish, making sure you have the correct amounts of protein.

Shellfish Lasagna

12 Lasagna Noodles

3 tablespoons Butter

1 small Onion, minced

3 cloves Garlic, minced

3 tablespoons All-purpose Flour

2 1/2 cups Heavy Cream

1 cup Romano cheese, grated

1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning

3/4 pound Crawfish Tails

3/4 pound medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375℉. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the lasagna noodles until they are done, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet and cook the onions over low heat until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute more. Over medium-low heat, stir in the flour with a whisk, then gradually add the heavy cream, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly before adding more. When the sauce has thickened to desired consistency, add the cheese and stir well. Add Creole seasoning and stir again. Add the seafood and cook until the shrimp are starting to turn pink, about 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the sauce from the skillet into the prepared pan. Layer noodles into the pan then top with seafood mixture. Continue this until the top layer of pasta is only covered with sauce and NO SEAFOOD. Make sure that all of the top surface of the pasta is covered. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, uncovered until bubbly. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing.