Monday, September 19, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Quesadillas with Tomatillo Salsa

It's tomatillo season, and I had a whole bowl of them sitting on the countertop, ripe and ready to be made into salsa. Since salsa alone does not a dinner make, I ran out to get ingredients for quesadillas. I had a can of white beans in the pantry and fully intended to mix them with some cheese for the filling. But standing in front of the refrigerator case at the IGA, I knew I could do better than the shrink-wrapped Monterey Jack. So I grabbed a few red onions and my tortillas and then wound up at Cavaniola's, for the wedge of young Pecorino that you see here. It seemed a shame to dilute its fresh flavor by mixing it with the beans, so the can went back into the pantry for another day and instead I sauteed the onions to supplement the filling. Here is the recipe:

Red Onion and Cheese Quesadillas with Tomatillo Salsa
Serves 4

1 pound tomatillos, husks removed
1 jalapeno or other hot chili pepper, halved and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 red onions, thinly sliced
One 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces mild, melty cheese, shredded
4 large flour tortillas

1. Preheat broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil. Toss tomatillos, chili pepper, garlic, and 1 tablespoon oil on baking sheet. Broil, turning tomatillos, pepper, and garlic once, until tomatillos are lightly charred, 6 to 7 minutes total. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine tomtatillos, pepper, and garlic in a blender and blend until almost smooth. Stir in cilantro and season with salt to taste.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Arrange cheese and onions evenly over half of each tortilla and fold tortillas in half.
2. Wipe out the skillet, add 1/2 tablespoon oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Cook two quesadillas, turning once, until golden and melted, about 5 minutes total. Repeat with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil quesadillas and serve immediately with tomatillo salsa on the side.

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