Tuesday, May 17, 2016
I have a long storied history with quesadillas. For the longest time, I did not know what they were called. When I was ten, I started making something I called fried cheesy tacos. These were cheese filled corn tortillas fried in butter. It was not until I was in college that I discovered the typical quesadilla of cheese filled flour tortillas and the name associated with any cheese filled tortilla dish.
In Mexico, they are made with corn tortillas typically filled with Oaxaca cheese. They are made in a cast iron or earthenware griddle called a comal, which is also used to make tortillas. Typical fillings are potatoes with chorizo, squash blossoms, mushrooms, epazote, huitlacoche, and different types of cooked meat. They are cooked dry on the griddle. When they are fried with oil they are called quesadillas fritas. Typically they are one tortilla flipped in a half moon shape. When cheese and meat, typically ham, are sandwiched between two tortillas and cut into wedges, that is called a sincronizada. In Mexico the use of flour tortillas is more common in the Northern region.
Quesadillas tradicionales (corn tortillas Oaxaca cheese, and cotija cheese)
With the restarting my cooking from scratch, I originally made them using the microwave. I later was frying the corn tortilla versions, first in butter then in olive oil. I stopped frying them for two reasons. First reason was I needed to eat healthier. The second was I wanted to see if I liked the more traditional version. I did like the traditional version. Now I use my electric skillet/kettle for the corn tortilla quesadillas. I started using my toaster oven for the flour tortilla version. My typical fillings have been a Mexican cheese blend, taco sauce, and/or hot sauce. Sometimes I use various chile powders instead of hot sauce. The powders are a combination of chipotle, ancho, guajillo, and New Mexican chile.
Quesadilla (flour tortilla, Mexican blend cheese, taco sauce, hot sauce)
I have experimented. I have added various lunch meats and Spanish style chorizo. Spanish chorizo is more like a mild pepperoni. Another of my weird quesadillas is my Quesadilla Española: Spanish chorizo, manchego cheese, and piquillo peppers. The piquillos cut the saltiness of the Spanish chorizo and the Manchego cheese. I have made my Jalapeño Popper Quesadilla, cream cheese and pickled jalapeños. I could see using nopalitos, pickled nopales, in a quesadilla as well. I also make my Pepper Jack Quesadilla: Monterey Jack and pickled jalapeños. It has a good flavor, next time I may use pepper jack cheese to see how that goes. Lately I have not been too big with the frills, so I have served them without any salsa or guacamole. The idea of me posting about my history with this dish was due to a friend’s post about Mexican cooking. I brought up my Jalapeño Popper Quesadilla. I hope you, my readers, get ideas from what I have wrote.