TSC Quesadillas

This post is more about a method than a recipe. It’s about how to get your quesadillas nice and crispy, and sort of thinly coated in (again, crispy) cheese. (Microwaved quesadillas are a travesty, by the way.)

In doing my research for this post, I learned (from good old wikipedia) that what many of us Americans (and many U.S. Mexican restaurants) call a quesadilla is actually something else, a “U.S. quesadilla” and/or the Mexican sincronizada. “Despite appearing almost the same as a quesadilla,” wikipedia tells us, “[this] is considered a completely different dish.” At any rate, I am talking about the type that involves two tortillas (as opposed to one, folded in half), has cheese as its only or main ingredient, is fried in a pan on both sides, and often cut into four wedges.

My ideal quesadilla contains cheese (cheddar, “mexican cheese,” etc., or manchego, panella, and/or cotija left over from rajas), roasted red or green bell pepper and finely minced hot pepper (habanero or hotter, very tiny bits), and corn. And salt and pepper, of course. This time, I used cheddar, cayenne powder, bacon bits, and chives. However, even just cheese is fine. Whatever you use, don’t skimp on the cheese! You’ll see why below.

And now, the special TSC method:

  • First, use butter, not cooking spray. And have the pan hot but not TOO hot. Cook the quesadilla on one side and then the other, until it’s holding together pretty well and part-way cooked.
  • Transfer it to a cutting board and use a large knife to cut it into quarters (or if you’re lazy like me, use kitchen scissors while holding it over the pan with a flipper). The reason for this pre-cutting is that, now, cheese is free to ooze out not just the outside edges, but all edges of the each wedge. Whoa!
  • Continue cooking the wedges, flipping as needed and occasionally pressing on them with the spatula to make more cheese ooze out. Move the wedges around so the cheese gets on the wedges, and gets crispy along with the tortillas. (Note: You shouldn’t need to add more butter or grease to the pan because the cheese has grease. Second note: If you’re using a medium pan, you may want to cook only two wedges at a time, to have more space, but in a large pan you can do all four at once.)
  • Serve with sour cream and/or salsa. Here I sprinkled on some chives as well.

I would love to hear your own tortilla tips and tricks in the comments!

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