Friday, March 23, 2007

Cool Quesadilla Combos:Recipe


Somewhere along the line I seem to have forgotten about quesadillas. But recently a couple of factors lead to me rediscovering them and their potential. One is the Organic Whole Wheat & Corn Flour Tortillas available at Trader Joe's. Each tortilla has only one gram of fat, five grams of fiber and is high in iron. They fit into my "try to eat more whole grain foods" resolution. A little experimenting lead me to discover that the nutty flavor of whole wheat tortillas is really good with non-traditional, not-necessarily Mexican fillings.

The other bit of inspiration came from a recipe I read in Sara Foster's Casual Cooking for Grilled Shrimp and Goat Cheese Toastadas. That jumping off point lead me to create a shrimp, avocado, radicchio and goat cheese quesadilla with a drizzle of chimichurri sauce. It was truly outstanding. I know quesadillas were all the rage about five years ago, but if you haven't played around with them in a while, they are definitely worth revisiting.

Below is a list of some of my favorite filling ingredients and my tips to get you started.


VEGETABLES

spinach
olives
avocado
onions
potatoes
asparagus
lentils
beans
bitter greens
mushrooms
red peppers
MEAT/FISH

shrimp
chicken
turkey
bacon
roast pork
sausage
caviar
ham
duck
CHEESES

fontina
feta
cheddar
blue
goat
brie
cream-cheese
camembert
FRUIT

tomatoes
fig
apple
mango
pear
raisins
apricots
plums
strawberries
FLAVORINGS

salsa
chutney
bbq sauce
chimichurri
pesto
truffle oil
garam masala
balsamic
black pepper

1. Pair up classic combinations, some suggestions:
cheddar and chutney
chicken, mango and bbq sauce
shrimp, feta and green onions
brie and pear

2. Restraint is key. Don't overstuff! For one regular sized flour tortilla, try not to add more than 1/2 cup of fillings.

3. Not every combination has to have cheese, I find leftover Indian food tastes great in a whole wheat tortilla without any cheese at all. Pesto, with or without parmesan cheese is wonderful with potatoes.

4. Use a lightly oiled non-stick pan for cooking your quesadillas and when cooking them open face, use a lid to help melt the cheese and heat up the fillings quickly. When the cheese melts, fold the quesadilla over and remove it from the pan.

5. You can also make them open-faced or tostada style. So technically they are not always "quesadillas" but, who cares?

If you'd care to share, let me know your favorite combo, the more nontraditional the better. The one in the photo? Roast pork, asparagus and Stilton.