About 20 years ago, there was a Hole-in-the-wall Mom & Pop Mexican restaurant that had the best Mexican food, on the Monterey Peninsula. I'm not kidding. Locals would patiently wait for one of the few booths, or to sit at the counter to order really authentic Mexican food. This is the restaurant where I discovered Entomatadas.
I'm surprised at how many people I know, who are Mexican, who say they've never heard of these! I'm so glad that I discovered this dish, because I love cheese enchiladas. I loved these so much, that I craved them on a regular basis. It got to the point where I'd walk into this little restaurant, and the mother or daughter would look at me and say "Entomatadas, rice and beans, right?"
Right! Please and thank you. Then, a sad thing happened. The restaurant closed. Empty. Shuttered and gone. I was heartbroken, and lamented that I'd never have these again. I'd think of those entomatadas, whenever I had a craving for Mexican food, and I'd miss my beloved Mexican restaurant all over again.
It was time for me to see if I could clone that recipe. First, let me introduce you to what an Entomatada is. It means "covered it tomato". In a way, this is an enchilada. The difference is that the sauce isn't loaded with a lot of chili powder or chili peppers. The sauce should have the brightness and taste of fresh tomato, with a mild amount of seasoning. Traditionally, Entomatadas are stuffed with cheese (and sometimes onion). Can you add chicken or beef? Of course you can. But I wanted to make my version of Entomatadas as close as the one's from my beloved restaurant.
For Cinco de Mayo, I found that Roma tomatoes and Jalapenos were plentiful and on sale. I bought Medium Cheddar Cheese and Monterey Jack. I did a little internet surfing and found a sparse selection of Entomatada recipes. I didn't like many of them, because I didn't want to add Chicken Bouillon or chicken stock. I didn't want to add all kinds of chili, or I'd be right back to a more traditional enchilada sauce. I wanted to be a tomato purist, and I didn't want too many spices to mute the star of the show.