This week, the Quesadilla goes international to the Mediterranean and the Far East in search of cultural twists on flavors.
First stop was Italy. Caprese salad, composed of juicy tomatoes, floral basil, and fresh mozzarella is often used as a meal starter to whet the appetite. The taste of Insalata Caprese reminds me of dining Al Fresco on a breezy summer evening, and with this sudden onset of fall, I was suddenly craving that feeling. The sweet corn & flour tortilla served as the perfect transition to take this from an appetizer to a more filling meal. Top off the quesadilla with some marinara sauce, and it transforms into Magherita Quesadilla!
- Fresh Tomatoes (Plum, Heirloom, Beefsteak), sliced
- Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
- Fresh Basil, coarsely chopped (to bring out flavor)
- Large Flour Tortilla
- Marinara or Vodka Sauce (optional)
Put it together:
- Heat up a pan with just a little bit of olive oil. Lay down a piece of tortilla
- Spread out the Mozzarella and Tomatoes, alternating slices, and then topping off with chopped basil
- Cover with second piece of tortilla and brush some olive oil on top
- When you hear sizzling, flip to cook the other side, and continue flipping/cooking until both sides turn a crispy golden brown.
- Brush on marinara or vodka sauce, and cut into 6 or 8 slices.
Six Treasures Quesadilla:
Next destination for the quesadilla – my home country of Taiwan. I remember Taiwan only from the eyes of a toddler, so my knowledge of Taiwanese food derives from the home cooking of my lovely, and also often experimental mother. Her strategy for food creation involves pairing up ingredients she finds in the fridge, concocting complementary sauce/seasonings, and adding in heaps of love. Since Six is a lucky number in Chinese culture, I decided to choose 6 colorful veggies to create a savory blend for this quesadilla.
- Six Treasures (Shitake Mushrooms, Leeks, Spinach, Carrots, Bean Sprouts, Bamboo Shoots)
- Large Tortilla
- Satay/Stir Fry Sauce (soy sauce, minced ginger, black vinegar, red chili pepper sauce, and a dash of sweet chili sauce)
- Peanut Sauce (optional)
Compiling the Treasure Chest:
- Stir fry/saute all the veggies, stirring in the sauce until veggies are cooked and well-seasoned. Set aside.
- Brush pan with a little olive oil, and lay down a piece of tortilla. Spread out the 6 treasures on the tortilla and top with another piece of tortilla. Brush on with more olive oil.
- Keep flipping and cooking until quesadilla becomes crispy and browned.
- Top off with peanut sauce, cut into slices and enjoy!
- Try these alternate “treasures”: celery, cabbage, firm tofu, water chestnuts, baby corn, eggplant, eggs, red pepper
- Use Plum or Sweet & Sour Sauce for a sweeter tang
- Use black bean sauce for a more earthy, salty flavor
- Fry the veggies in some rice, and wrap it all up in the tortilla like a burrito
- Feel free to use herbs like basil, parsley, or cilantro
Thus concludes today’s journey. Stay tuned for our next experimental adventure!