The word “quesadilla” is actually a portmanteau of “queso,” the Spanish word for cheese, and tortilla…and this very accurately describes exactly what it is: a cheese-filled tortilla.
But quesadillas are so much more than that. While the simple cheese-and-tortilla can make a satisfying nibble, there are so many delicious variations that you can create meals with them. These are great for hot snacks for a party, quick lunches for kids, even as a way to use up leftovers. Once you’ve mastered the basic quesadilla, let your imagination run wild!
6 flour tortillas, warmed
1 ½ cups cheese, grated (recommend a combination of Monterey Jack and mild cheddar)
1 ½ cups salsa fresca (drained)
Sour cream (optional)
Lay a warmed tortilla out on a plate. Place ¼ cup grated cheese on half of the tortilla…spread out to cover half. Sprinkle ¼ cup salsa over the cheese. Fold empty side of tortilla over the cheese and salsa. Repeat with all tortillas.
Heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet until water skitters and jumps when flicked onto it. Place quesadilla on hot cooking surface until cheese melts. Flip quesadilla to warm other side of tortilla. Remove to serving plate. Put next quesadilla in pan and while it cooks, cut the hot quesadilla into three wedges for serving.
Serve hot with guacamole, sour cream, and more salsa.
I have never seen a leftover quesadilla. But if, perchance, you do end up with one, refrigerate in a plastic food bag and warm in microwave or on the griddle before serving. They would make a nice lunch...but I have never seen a leftover one, so I can only speculate!
Extra ingredients are added with the cheese and the salsa may be omitted. This is a good way to use up leftover meats (chop them before adding), or vegetables. Use your imagination!
Make breakfast quesadillas by scrambling an egg and adding it with the cheese and salsa.
White cheeses and seafood, especially cooked, chopped shrimp pieces and salsa, are a particularly good combination.
Photo by jspatchwork, flickr