I love “gourmet Mexican” cooking. This dish was inspired by more traditional stacked enchiladas – with a twist. Using fillo dough instead of tortillas gives the meal a lighter, flakier texture – reminiscent of European and Mediterranean layered-dough pastries.
Special Equipment: Large casserole dish (9×13 will work)
- 1 package Filo (filo, phyllo) dough sheets, thawed
- 3 small cod fillets (about 1 lb total)
- 1/2 lb Cotija cheese, crumbled (look for it in the Mexican cheese section. Substitute Chihuahua or Fontina if you must)
- 1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 cups (uncooked) baby spinach
- 2 dried ancho chilies, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 lb Woodear mushrooms, coarsely chopped (substitute with another “gamey” mushroom such as Oyster)
- 1 tbsp red cayanne pepper
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (rice, sherry or plain white vinegar will work fine)
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil (in a sprayer, if you have one)
- 2 1/2 cups prepared salsa verde (may I recommend the mojito marinade?)
- Preheat your oven to 375F and set the rack to the middle position.
- Combine the cayanne pepper, paprika, liquid smoke, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the cod and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate, at least 15 minutes.
- Preheat your most grill-kike surface (bbq grill, indoor grill, grill pan, big skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until brown and soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the onions and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Add chilies and mushrooms to the bowl.
- On the same hot grill, cook the spinach until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Coarsely chop the wilted spinach and add to the bowl that’s beginning to smell delicious in your kitchen.
- Keeping your grill good and hot, cook the cod fillets, about 4 minutes per side. Toward the end of the cooking, mash up the fillets with your tongs or spatula. Cook another 1 minute over high heat to develop crusty bits.
- Add the cod and 2 cups of the salsa verde to the mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
- Lightly grease the bottom and sides of your casserole dish with olive oil. Add one sheet of filo dough to the bottom of the dish. Lightly spray or brush the dough with olive oil (very lightly). Add another sheet and repeat until you have 5 or so sheets built up on the bottom.
- Add about 1/2 of the cod/veggie/fungi mixture to the dish and spread into an even layer. Top with 1/3 of the cheese. Add another 5 layers of filo dough, spraying oil in between each layer.
- Repeat step #8 with the remaining cod mixture. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of salsa verde over the top of the fillo sheets. Add the rest of the cheese in an even layer.
- Bake at 375F for 15 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned. Set aside to cool at least 5 minutes. Cut and serve!
Serve alongside refried beans mixed with the juice of 1 lime and some chopped cilantro. If you’re timid about cod, try using shredded chicken, pork or steak. As a brunch variation, try using lobster meat and Fontina cheese, substituting the salsa verde for a buttery cream sauce. Look how fancy you are!
P.S., like its traditional Mexican counterparts, this dish is also great the 2nd day.