With all of the rockets being fired at Israel right now, it feels awfully inane to publish a post on quesadillas (or just about anything, really). To everyone living in areas under fire, we are davening for you and hoping you are okay. And to every member of the IDF: Thank you.
About the quesadillas.
This is one of our favorite dinners, no question. First of all, when you have the right combination of fillings and toppings, they’re just so fantastically good (our toddler agrees). But that isn’t enough for me to really love a meal. It also has to be easy on the prep, short on the cooking time, and easy on the cleanup. Maybe I have high expectations, but look — if it takes me too much time to work through a dinner recipe, I’m probably not going to use that recipe again for a long time. And by long I mean long.
Caramelized onions are definitely not a quick thing to make, since it’s the slow cooking process that deepens their flavor, but because you can make them ahead and freeze, they feel fast to me. Well, not the day I caramelize, but all the days after that, when I magically pop little nuggets of incredible flavor out of the freezer.
Cooking with two kids under 2 can sometimes feel impossible, but you know what? If cranking out dinner is as easy as filling a tortilla wrap, browning it on the stove, and taking a bite … I can totally do this.
Yield: 16 quesadilla wedges
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus a bit for browning the quesadillas
- 3 large onions, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 dozen cherry tomatoes, sliced (actually sliced, not halved)
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Couple pinches of Italian seasoning blend*
- 8 (20-cm/8-inch) tortilla wraps
- For serving: Guacamole (mash avocados with lemon juice, salt, and pepper), sour cream, salsa
*Can’t find it? Sub with dried basil and oregano.
1. Caramelize the onions: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a stainless steel pot. Add the onions and garlic and stir to coat them in the oil. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. This softens the onions; now it’s time to brown them.
2. Remove the lid and stir, leaving the onions to cook undisturbed for 10 minutes before stirring again. Repeat several more times. After a few rounds, you’ll start seeing brown bits at the bottom of the pot. This is where the flavor is building up, so scrape them back into the onions when you stir. Turn off the heat when the onions have reduced significantly and turned a deep brown.
–> The longer you go, the better the flavor will be (just make sure to stir more often than every 10 minutes if it seems like they’re close to burning). I usually let mine go 60-70 minutes.
–> Does this seem like a big time investment for one ingredient in a weeknight meal? I think so, too. That’s why I caramelize a whole bunch of onions at once (like 10 at a time) and freeze them in small portions. You can whip them out of the freezer and add them to recipes as needed.
3. Assemble the quesadillas: Lay a tortilla wrap on a plate. Place a big spoonful of caramelized onions, a couple of tomato slices, and about 3 Tbsp of cheese on the bottom half of the wrap. Sprinkle with italian seasoning. Fold the top of the wrap down over the filling. Repeat until all of the fillings and wraps have been used up.
4. Finishing touch: Heat a bit of oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet (or mist it with cooking spray). Fit two folded wraps inside and let them cook over medium-low heat for 2-3 minuter per side, just to heat them through, melt the cheese, and brown the wraps. Add a little oil to the skillet between batches as needed. (If you’re caramelizing onions and then making the quesadillas right away, go ahead and use the same pan for this step. You may need a little extra oil to prevent sticking and/or burning.)
5. Slice each quesadilla into wedges (one cut down the middle gives you two wedges per wrap) and serve with plenty of guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and your other favorites.