Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quesadillas Are the New Grilled Cheese

If 50 is the new 40 and burgundy is the new black, then quesadillas are the new grilled cheese. 

Why? Because I say so.

While I'll always love grilled cheese sandwiches, I've discovered that quesadillas can be just as easy and cheesy as the go-to American classic. Instead of bread, use flour tortillas, and instead of American cheese, use a Mexican blend. Grill it over a heated, buttered pan and you have flour-dairy goodness. Of course with a quesadilla, you will most likely want other ingredients in addition to just cheese and tortillas. But the beauty of this Tex-Mex gem is that you can put anything and everything in it. Using ingredients you have on hand will add to the efficiency of preparing it--and also give you a chance to get creative.

For the quesadilla above, I used some cooked shrimp I already had on hand, a small can of mushrooms, red onions (caramelized) and Texas Pete. I came up with that combination on the fly, but you wouldn't know it. It was quite excellent (although the picture hardly leads you to believe that fact), and I'm craving it now as we speak.

If you want to replicate it, follow these instructions:

Cook shrimp (I already had boiled some earlier that day and thus had some on hand. You can cook yours with your mixture, if you like.) Slice red onions and cook in olive oil over medium-high heat until caramelized. Add shrimp to the pot with the onions. Add one 6.5-oz. can of sliced mushrooms to the shrimp-onion mixture. Add approximately 1/2 Tbsp of Texas Pete. Turn to medium heat and stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsps. of butter on a hot griddle or pan, place one fajita-sized flour tortilla (I used whole-wheat) on the pan and press for 30-60 seconds. Flip and do the same to the other side. Remove the tortilla from the pan and repeat these steps with another tortilla. After crisping both sides of the second tortilla, sprinkle a few handfuls of shredded Mexican cheese blend over it. On top of the cheese, add a couple of scoops of the shrimp-mushroom-onion mixture. Top off with more cheese. 

Place the previously grilled tortilla on top. Press. Flip the entire quesadilla and press again (approximately 30 seconds). Remove from pan and cut into quarters. Top with sour cream and more Texas Pete.

Simple and yummy. Seriously ... if I can do it, you can too.

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