The Simpson’s Comic Book Guy is perhaps one of my favorite critics on television. While I often channel his voice to express my disgust of things (“Worst post about a Mexican food product ever”) I rarely channel his witty sarcasm for good things, and then I remembered this proclamation in season 6, “Behold, the ultimate pog.” That statement pretty much summed up how I felt about these quesadillas.
Val and I had picked up some squash blossoms at the farmer’s market last Saturday with the intention to fry them. Since I had never cooked squash blossoms I hopped onto the internets to do some research on how to prepare them and stumbled across this post which lead me to this post. Those who read this blog (most likely just our family and friends) know that I am sucker for Mexican food, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that squash blossom quesadillas trumped fried squash blossoms. This is a slightly modified version of Homesick Texan’s quesadillas since I didn’t have the same ingredients on hand, but it was delightfully delicious and perhaps the best quesadillas I have ever had.
- 12 squash blossoms
- 2 green chiles roasted/grilled (Anaheim peppers would do the trick or even hungarian wax peppers if you can’t find green chiles)
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/3 red onion diced
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano (for those folks living near Ann Arbor, get it at the Spice Merchants - theirs is great)
- 2-3 cups queso blanco shredded
- 6 large flour tortillas (this will make 3 large quesadillas)
- 1 tsp butter + more on hand to coat the tortillas
Start by roasting or grilling the green chiles. I lightly coated ours with some olive oil and grilled them over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes (when the skin began to puff up and lightly char around the entire pepper). Remove from the grill and place them in a paper bag to steam and cool so that you can handle them about 10-15 minutes.Remove the chiles from the paper bag once they have cooled enough to touch. Remove the skins and stems (and deseed if you are afraid of the heat). Set aside. Remove the stems and stamens from the squash blossoms, and gently wash them. Give the a rough chop when done. In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter, add the onions, chiles, garlic, and Mexican oregano. Cook until the onions begin to soften and become translucent. Add the squash blossoms, salt, and pepper and cook for an additional 5 minutes or so. So that they are heated all the way through. Remove mixture and set aside.
The next step is the simple part, put it all together. And just in case you have never made a quesadilla here is how:
Using the same skillet or a griddle heat to medium heat (my go to choice is a 2 burner griddle when making quesadillas). Lightly coat one side of a tortilla with a buttery spread of your choice. Slap the butter side down on the griddle, add about 1/3 of your cheese and squash blossom mixture on top. Watch until you begin to see the cheese on the bottom begin to melt. Top with another tortilla, buttery coating on the top, and flip the quesadilla. Cook until the cheese is melted through. Repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 quesadillas. My biggest advice is don’t skip the butter, butter (or buttery spread) is the key ingredient here, it adds flavor to the tortilla and helps create a nice golden crispy crust.
Once cooked, let cool for a second or two, slice them and serve. I added to these bad boys some green chile corn and a delicious homemade chipotle corn salsa on the side (recipes below).
Green Chile Corn:
- 2 cobs of corn grilled
- 1/2 tsp (or a little more) butter (or buttery spread)
- 1+ tbsp green chile powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt and coarse ground pepper to taste
To prepare the corn, peel back the husk so that you can remove the silk from the corn. Do not remove all of the husk, it is okay to remove some but you need to leave some of it on. Once you have removed the silk fold husk back over the cob and soak in cold water for a 30 minutes or more (for me it was about 2 hours as I got sidetracked doing other things). Place the corn on a grill over medium heat and cook for about 15 to 25 minutes rotating it in a quarter turn every 5 minutes or so. If you like your corn to brown and char a bit (it looks pretty that way) peel the husk back some. Once cooked, shave off the corn kernels. In a bowl combine the kernels, chile powder, butter, sugar, salt and pepper.
Chipotle Corn Salsa:
- 1 cob of corn grilled
- 2 canned chipotle peppers
- 4 grilled/roasted tomatoes cored and deseeded
- 3 large cloves of garlic minced
- the juice of 1/2 a lime
- a drizzle of olive oil
Lightly coat the tomatoes in olive oil. Place on a grill over medium heat and cook for about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to lightly char, skin peels, and start to soften. If you do this over high heat it takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Once finished remove from the grill and set aside to cool for a short while. You don’t want to burn yourself on hot tomato juices (trust me). Once you can handle the tomatoes remove the core and deseed them. In a food processor puree the tomatoes, garlic, chipotles, lime juice, and salt. Prepare and grill the corn in the same manner described above. Once grilled, shave off the kernels and add to the puree and you have salsa.