It's fog free and in the upper 60s here in the Bay Area...and it is February! So with all the good weather, I was feeling festive and for lunch today I craved food that was spicy and fresh. After digging around in my fridge, here is what I came up with: a corn quesadilla of red chard, radicchio, fresh jalapeños, black olives, and two cheeses...and a (relatively) local Naval orange for dessert! Here is the ingredient list and how I made it (although I make things up as I go and appropriate proportions to fit one person or so that I have left-overs, so I do not measure - adjust to your taste):
- Corn quesadillas
- Garlic - crushed
- Leafy greens (I used red chard but kale, spinach or collards would work also) - torn into smaller pieces
- Radicchio lettuce (you could also substitute with another spicy lettuce like arugula) - also torn like the greens
- Jalapeños - roughly chopped
- Black olives - smooshed into small pieces
- Fresh cilantro leaves ("coriander" to you Europeans) - chopped and split into two portions
- Milder white, meltable cheese (I used Emmental Swiss cheese, a stronger kind of Swiss, but you could use mozzarella, Monterey Jack, etc.) - shredded
- Queso Cotija (a white, Mexican cheese that is very salty, dry and crumbles easily - Queso Manchego, Parmesan or even feta cheeses are good replacements) - crumbled or finely shredded
- Other options that would work: corn, fresh tomatoes, canned/jarred nopalitos (cactus leaves/pads)
- Fresh lime wedges
- Avocado slices
- Salsa (I chose a hot, chunky variety of a popular Mexican brand called Herdez that is found all over the U.S., but green Tomatillo salsa or your own homemade kind also works great)
- Piece of fresh fruit
- Extra hot sauce if so desired
- Either lightly brown the tortillas in a little corn, canola or sunflower oil, or pop them in the oven so that at least one side of each tortilla is toasted (the sides that the veggies and cheese will rest on) to prevent the tortilla from getting too soggy.
- While the tortillas are getting warm, saute the garlic in the oil for about 10 seconds (since it is crushed it will take less time to cook), then add the leafy greens, lettuce, olives, jalapeños and half of the cilantro leaves. Cook until leaves are wilted, but not mushy.
- Once tortillas are ready, place one in a warm, lightly oiled skillet and layer meltable cheese, greens, dry cheese, and the rest of the cilantro, followed by the other tortilla on top. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat.
- Put salsa in a ramekin or little bowl and arrange the accompaniments on the plate.
- Flip the quesadilla about four times (two times on each side) to further brown the tortilla and melt the cheese.
- Serve hot. Enjoy!
|Ingredients inside the quesadilla before everything melts together.|
**For a cheat sheet on the types and names of other Mexican cheeses try the link here. P.S., the Spanish word "queso" = "cheese" in English**