I love quesadillas. As far as greasy comfort food goes—I don't eat meat, so burgers and hot dogs are off the table. And no bread for me, so pizza isn't an option either. But a cheesy, crisp quesadilla on corn tortillas makes me really, really happy. My ultimate greasy comfort food.
Of course I can never order a quesadilla at a restaurant because they are made with cow's milk cheese, so the Man and I enjoy 'quesadilla night' at home from time to time using goat cheddar or some other goat or sheep milk cheese that melts well. I like to use a combination of cheeses because it adds more flavor—generally a good melter, and something with a little more tang mixed in. We had manchego in the fridge the other day so I used that, or pecorino is great, and goat gouda is obviously a real treat.
Other mandatory ingredients in my basic quesadillas are cilantro, salt, and red pepper flakes. The cilantro adds some green and flavor. Plus, if the leaves overflow the tortillas they get nice and crispy in the pan. (If you haven't had crispy cilantro you need to get right on it. Delicious.) You might think the salt is unnecessary because of the salty cheese, but a little crunchy salt bite every once and a while is totally worth it. I have a Hawaiian style black salt that is perfect, but feel free to omit or use sea salt if desired. And then of course red pepper flakes, because a crispy, cheesy quesadilla needs a little kick.
While I do like to indulge in a quesadilla every once in a while, I always need something to offset the richness. I typically serve them with a green salad (avocado makes a nice addition) and beans— either black or pinto that I've sautéed in olive oil on the stove with some garlic, onions, ground cumin, sea salt and black pepper.
ADULT QUESADILLAS WITH CILANTRO
- 6 corn tortillas
- 3 handfuls of grated cheese (goat cheddar and manchego, or goat cheddar and pecorino, or whatever you prefer)
- 1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped
- sea salt (I used Hawaiian style black salt, but you can use normal sea salt) if desired
- red pepper flakes
- extra virgin olive oil
Place two cast iron pans on medium heat, and add a little splash of olive oil and a small pat of butter (about a teaspoon) to each. (Note: if you have one pan, cook the quesadillas one at a time instead of cooking them all at once.)
Once hot, add three tortillas to the pans. Distribute one half of the cheese mixture between the three tortillas. Sprinkle each with a small amount of black salt and red pepper flakes. Then distribute the cilantro between the tortillas. Finally, distribute the remaining cheese between the three, and cover with a tortilla on each.
Press each quesadilla with a spatula, and continue to cook until the bottom tortillas are golden and crisp. Flip them over, and cook for a few additional minutes, until the new bottom tortillas are golden and crisp as well.
Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for a few minutes. Cut in quarters with a sharp knife, and serve.