Wild mushroom and gorgonzola quesadillas

Quesadillas:  like toasted cheese…with a twist

Originally appeared in the February 23, 2012 edition of the Southside Times.

The quesadilla.  After nabbing my first foodservice gig at a Mexican restaurant back in the winter of 1997, this easily-accessible eatable is one of the first dishes I emulated in my kitchen (well, my mom’s kitchen—I was still living at home).  The quesadilla was like a grown-up grilled cheese; and as a nineteen-year-old honing his cooking skills, its low-labor execution was particularly appealing.

It stands to reason that many of you have experienced variations of the venerable toasted tortilla-and-cheese-and-protein trio.  And while this week’s installment is far from radical, it offers just enough nuance to deliver a nice change of pace.  More after the jump:This savory stratification consists of 1) the requisite tortilla, 2) Monterey Jack cheese, 3) gorgonzola (a blue-veined cheese with a salty, slightly bitter flavor), and 4) wild mushrooms.  A quick note on the later ingredient:  I prefer using the dehydrated form of these mushrooms because of how they hold up during the cooking process—you get all the great, earthy aroma, along with the meatiness of the mushrooms’ texture.

Enjoy this treat as a sliced-up appetizer, or with several accoutrements to make a filling entrée.  And take it from that nineteen-year-old version of yours truly:  “If I can avoid burning these quesadillas, surely you can too.”

Wild mushroom and gorgonzola quesadillas

Serves 4 – 5

  • 2, 12-inch flour tortillas (at room temp)
  • As needed, olive oil
  • As needed, unsalted butter
  • 4 – 6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola
  • 1 ounce dried wild mushrooms (or dried shitake)
  • As needed, warm  water and soy sauce

1.  Place mushrooms in a bowl with warm water along with several dashes of soy sauce.  Allow mushrooms to rehydrate (about 15 – 20 minutes).  Afterwards, thinly slice of rough chop the mushrooms.  Reserve.

2.  Using a large sauté pan (big enough to accommodate the 12-inch tortilla) or flat-top griddle over medium-high heat, add just enough oil to coat bottom of pan; add small amount of unsalted butter and allow to melt.  Immediately place tortilla on pan.  Sprinkle on a thin layer of shredded cheese (about half of your total measurement), followed by the gorgonzola (again, about half the total); over one half, add a sprinkling of the prepared mushrooms.  Using a spatula, fold one half of the tortilla over the other, creating a half-moon shape; a few second later, reverse the flip to finish toasting the other side.  Remove from pan and place on a cutting board.

3.  Allow the quesadillas to rest for several minutes before slicing.  Serve with chopped fresh cilantro and dipping sauce of choice.

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