Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Quesadillas with Mushrooms

No, not the ones with shredded Monterey jack and flour tortillas. I gave those up years ago. These Diana Kennedy-approved quesadillas are made from masa (the Spanish cornmeal dough in tortillas, tamales, arepas), stuffed with Oaxaca cheese and strips of poblano, and crisped up on a skillet until browned and bubbling. I never thought I'd like quesadillas so much.

That said, these are far more labor-intensive then sprinkling cheese on a tortilla and tossing it into the microwave. They can be made in under an hour, but you'll have to work quickly. The hardest part is constructing the quesadillas, as the masa tears easily. Plastic wrap and a metal spatula solves most of the problem. Just sandwich the masa balls between a large sheet of plastic wrap, then flatten the quesadilla in a tortilla press (or with an iron skillet, albeit very gently). Carefully peel back the plastic and set it on a cutting board. Top with the ingredients, and with a metal spatula, fold the quesadilla in half. With the metal spatula, transfer it to the skillet.

Sounds a lot more confusing on paper. After making 12 of these, I found my quesadilla making groove. These are unlike any quesadilla I've had before: they actually taste good.


About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a co-founder of The Paupered Chef, a blog dedicated to saving time and money while enjoying food in every way possible. He sells wine for a living and lives in Columbus, Ohio.

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