Cheese Quesadillas You’ll Love – Crisp, Creamy & Flavorful
Preparing for this past Saturday’s Bold Sauces Around the World cooking class (pictured above), I wanted to include a basic cheese quesadilla to serve with Mango Avocado Salsa. Easy enough to do. Or so I thought. The first quesadilla off the griddle was so disappointing. A soggy tortilla with too little cheese. After a number of tries, I had a recipe for crisp, creamy and flavorful Cheese Quesadillas with Cilantro, Scallions, Cheddar and Goat Cheese.
What have I wrought? My beloved now asks for these Cheese Quesadillas almost daily.
5 tips for the best quesadillas
- Use the freshest flour tortillas you can find. Spinach tortillas are an attractive color contrast. Corn flour tortillas offer great flavor.
- Add about ½ cup of filling. Too much filling and the cheese oozes out along with the scallions and cilantro. Too little filling . . . boring.
- Medium heat is best. When a few drops of water on the griddle or frying pan result in a gentle sizzle, you’re good to cook.
- A little butter or oil goes a long way for crisp rather than soggy tortillas. Tortillas tend to absorb all the butter or oil you give them. Not a good thing if you want the tortillas crisp.
- Before cutting, lightly blot the cheese quesadillas on a towel (paper or otherwise) to remove any excess butter or oil.
Top with salsa, sour cream or . . . pesto
Of course, when you have the time, make a batch of sweet, sour, salty, spicy Mango Avocado Salsa as we did during Saturday’s class. Though, Guacamole wows, sour cream hits the spot. And your favorite prepared fresh or jarred salsa does the trick.
Surprisingly, with no salsa in sight, I discovered that a bit of Parsley Scallion Pesto (or most any homemade pesto) spread on hot cheese quesadillas elevates their flavor most deliciously.
Could it be any simpler? Original cheese quesadillas from the central and southern regions of Mexico, consisted of a warmed tortilla filled with cheese (queso). The folded tortilla was then cooked on a special griddle until the cheese melted. Not much different from the way we make cheese quesadillas today.
Feel free to experiment with the filling. Along with cheese consider any number of other items. Green chilies, beans, roasted or steamed vegetables, chicken, avocado, olives or even roasted sweet potatoes make great tasting quesadillas.
Cheese Quesadillas – Cilantro, Scallions, Cheddar & Goat Cheese
- Additional filling ingredients could include sliced olives and/or diced green chilies.
- Serve with your favorite guacamole, salsa or even pesto.
- Or top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro.
- This recipe is easily multiplied ad infinitum.
- With a 12-inch griddle you can cook up to 3 Cheese Quesadillas at a time.
- Leave whole to eat as a hand pie.
- Cut the quesadilla into 4ths for an appetizer, meal or snack.
Makes 1 Cheese Quesadilla Printer-Friendly Recipe
Total Time 15 minutes
1/3 cup coarsely grated sharp white cheddar or your favorite melting cheese
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion
1 ½ tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon crumbled soft goat cheese
1 9-inch flour tortilla of any flavor (I like spinach for the color)
About ½ teaspoon butter or oil for the griddle
- Place a 12-inch griddle or skillet over medium heat while you prepare the filling ingredients.
- Starting with the cheese, layer all of the filling ingredients except for the butter or oil, on the bottom half of a flour tortilla. Leave both the top half and a ½ -inch edge around the bottom half empty. Fold the top half over the bottom half.
- When the pan is hot, put the butter or oil on the section of the pan where you will cook the quesadilla.
- Once the butter melts or the oil is hot, top it with the folded quesadilla. Cook for 1½-2 minutes or until golden and crisp. Use a pancake turner to turn the quesadilla over. Cook the second side for another 1½-2 minutes or until golden and crisp.
- Transfer the quesadilla to a paper towel to absorb any excess butter or oil. Serve Cheese Quesadillas whole as a hand pie. Or cut them into fourths for an appetizer, meal or snack.
- Serve while hot with your favorite salsa, guacamole, pesto or dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro.