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These delicious Quesadillas rival the kind you’d order at your favorite Mexican restaurant!
Judging by the emails and reviews we get, A Family Feast readers absolutely love our Mexican recipes. So I can’t believe – after almost eight years of sharing recipes here – we’re finally getting around to share a recipe for Quesadillas!
What are Quesadillas?
Quesadillas are a Mexican dish made with tortillas that are filled mostly with cheese – plus sometimes meats, vegetables, beans, and salsa. The word “queso” means cheese in Spanish – so queso in your quesadillas is very important.
Quesadillas are served two ways. A ‘full’ quesadilla is made with two tortillas that hold a layer of cheese between them. A ‘half’ quesadilla is a single tortilla filled with cheese and folded in half.
Traditionally, quesadillas are cooked on a griddle called a comal until the cheese is melted inside, and the outside is golden and crispy.
Make Restaurant-Quality Quesadillas at Home
If you are a regular reader here, then you already know that lots of our Mexican recipes are inspired by the dishes that my husband Jack prepared while working at a restaurant called The Edgewater Café formerly located in Magnolia, Massachusetts. (You can read more about that here.)
In a restaurant kitchen, most Quesadillas are prepared under a commercial broiler called a salamander. It’s an open-front, extremely hot appliance with heat coils at the top and a rack to slide foods in and out. In order to imitate the effect of that appliance so you can make an authentic quesadilla at home, Jack came up with the recipe and method below.
How to make Quesadillas
We’re showing you how to make full quesadillas from flour tortillas – and you can load them up with any of your favorite toppings. We used Monterey Jack cheese, chopped fresh tomatoes, mild green chiles, scallions, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos slices for a vegetarian version. We also added pulled pork to one of our quesadillas.
Place an empty sheet tray in the oven, under a hot broiler. This step will get the sheet tray very hot so the tortillas will crisp up and brown once you slide them onto the tray.
Lay out your tortillas (two per quesadilla) and on one half, sprinkle lots of shredded cheese. On the other half – sprinkle more cheese, plus your other toppings.
Then – using a pizza peel, rimless cookie sheet, or even a cake lifter, CAREFULLY slide a cheese-covered tortilla and a topping-covered tortilla onto the hot sheet tray. Broil for about a minute, then remove the pan from the oven.
Slide the tortillas onto a heat-safe cutting board, then flip the cheese-covered tortilla onto the filling side. Press down so the two sides stick together a bit – then cut into triangles for serving.
What to serve with Quesadillas
8 10-inch flour tortillas
2 pounds Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 7-ounce can chopped mild green chilies, well drained
2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
1 bunch scallions, tops and bottoms, chopped
¼ cup cilantro leaves
1 cup optional pulled pork, see note here*
Optional pickled jalapeno slices
Limes, for serving
Guacamole, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Place an empty sheet tray on an oven rack just under the broiler. You want the pan to get hot while you prepare the quesadillas so when you slide a quesadilla onto the hot pan, the bottom crisps while the top melts.
Lay out eight flour tortillas and divide the shredded cheese between all eight.
Leave four with cheese only while you build the other four.
On four of the prepared tortillas, divide the drained green chilies, diced tomatoes, scallions, cilantro and optional pickled jalapenos.
If using a pulled or shredded meat, add about a quarter cup on each of the four tortillas.
Use a pizza peel or a cookie sheet that has a flat side with no lip and slide one loaded quesadilla and one with just cheese onto it then open the oven door and slide each onto the hot pan and broil for about one minute or until the cheese is melted, hot and bubbly.
Take the cheese half and flip over onto the loaded half and press to combine.
Use a sharp knife and cut into six or eight wedges.
Repeat process for the remaining quesadillas. (I found it best to slide the finished cut quesadillas onto another pan which I placed at the very bottom of the oven with a piece of foil over it so that all four portions could be served together hot.)
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*Any cooked meat can be used in your quesadillas. We used pulled pork but you could use pulled chicken, shredded beef, or you could simply buy a supermarket rotisserie chicken, season it a bit, then shred it for the quesadillas.