I'm not always a huge fan of quesadillas, especially the ones that shun fresh masa and just use a folded flour tortilla. But I realize that they do have their place. Take this recipe from the blog Closet Cooking. At first glance it looks like just a really basic version, but it doesn't taste like one at all. It's the small details here that make for a more flavorful meal.
The key is cook the shrimp until they are just done, toss them in ice water, and then bathe them in lime juice and herbs for a good thirty minutes. They come out like a cross between shrimp cocktail and ceviche, so each bite pops. I also added in some kale, just because I had some in the fridge. It helps give some earthy balance to the acidic and creamy dish.
Shrimp Quesadilla with Kale
- 1/4 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1 jalapeno, stemmed and chopped
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 handful cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 bunch of kale, tough stems removed and chopped
- 2 flour tortillas
- 3 teaspoons butter
- 1 1/2 handfuls of melting cheese (jack, cheddar, or Chihuahua)
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the shrimp, turn the heat to medium and cook until pink, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water, until cool. Halve them horizontally.
Transfer the shrimp to a bowl along with the lime juice, zest, jalapeno, green onion, cilantro, and cumin. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let them hang out for 30 minutes.
Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in a non-stick skillet set over medium heat. Add the chopped kale and cook until wilted. Add a 1/4 cup of water. Cover the skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes, until the kale is very tender. Season with salt.
Clean out the skillet. Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in the skillet set over medium heat. Add a flour tortilla, making sure to coat one side with the butter. Cook, flipping occasionally, until the air pockets form in the middle. Set aside. Add more butter if needed, and repeat process with the other tortilla.
Drain the liquid from the shrimp. Place the shrimp and herb mixture on top of one of the tortillas. Add the cheese, and then top with the other tortilla.
Add the final teaspoon of butter to the skillet. Cook the quesadilla, flipping once, until the cheese has melted and both sides are golden brown. Cut into six slices and serve with the sour cream and avocado.