I’m so excited to share this recipe with all of you! I happened to have some shrimp on hand and decided to make Mexican lasagna last night. Not only do I absolutely adore Mexican food, it also features my Tomato Sauce Of The Moment. Seeing as how it’s a Mexican dish, you can totally substitute with salsa but the sauce takes all of 10 minutes to make. It’s very flavorful and makes a fabulous base for other different sauces so I hope you give it a try.
To make my Tomato Sauce Of The Moment, you’ll need:
3 T olive oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 t Italian seasoning
A generous 1/4 t cloves or to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Finely chop the onion and garlic cloves. When the oil is hot enough, add the chopped onion and sautee until it starts to caramelize. Caramelization will add sweetness and depth to this sauce.
2. Add in chopped garlic and sautee some more until the garlic turns fragrant. Careful so you don’t burn the garlic! That would make it bitter.
3. Add in the canned diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, cloves, salt and freshly ground black pepper then stir to mix well. The cloves really make all the difference for me. Warm and fragrant, I can’t imagine tomato sauce without it right now. Turn down the heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes with the lid off since I want this sauce to reduce for this dish. If you’re just making sauce, simmer with lid on.
While the sauce is simmering, I got to prepping the other ingredients of this dish namely:
About 12 large shrimp
3 T olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
About 1 cup canned kidney beans
About 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
A bunch cilantro
About 4 corn tortillas
1. The shrimp should be peeled and deveined. Chop into bite-size pieces and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Take a small pan to medium-high heat. Add in olive oil. When the oil is ready, add in shrimp and sautee until cooked, about 2-3 minutes. I finished with a splash of lemon juice because I had some lemons lying around. Lime would have made more sense so do that if you have some but it’s not necessary. Set aside.
I thought I was keeping an eye on my tomato sauce, I really did, but it ended up over-reducing anyway. Oops! I just went ahead and used it but in hindsight, I wish I added a tiny bit of water. Or V8! I had V8 lying around, that would have been great!
2. Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F. I used a loaf pan simply because it’s just the right size for how much this makes. Grease the pan with olive oil and we can start layering with corn tortillas (whole or torn, you will probably end up doing both), sauce, beans, shrimp, cheese, cilantro, repeat. The corn tortillas are crucial to this dish. I used flour tortillas the first time I made this and it basically turned back into dough once it was done. It was really unappealing. Corn tortillas hold their shape and texture better and the flavor is exponentially better, too. Look for it in the frozen foods section.
3. Pop in the oven uncovered until the cheese on top is melted and browned, about 12-15 minutes.
Yum yum yum. Crispy cilantro is a revelation.
It was a tad dry fresh out of the oven because my tomato sauce was slightly over-reduced but I had some again this morning and it was fine. I have lots of corn tortillas left so I look forward to making this again with shredded chicken or ground beef. Carnitas if I’m up for extra work. Most definitely will have frozen margaritas on the ready, too!
Fun Food Fact: Kidney beans have the ability to absorb flavors from other foods which makes them a good addition to many dishes.