Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mushroom Quesadillas

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for searing
1 small onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, stemmed and chopped (see Note 1)
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, or any variety, stems removed, caps sliced
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
12 (9-inch) flour tortillas
Mexican crema, store-bought or homemade, for garnish (see Note 2)
Fresh tomato salsa, store-bought or homemade, for garnish
Sprigs of cilantro, for garnish
Yields 12 quesadillas.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the onion and jalapeno and saute until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, salt and the lime juice.

Return the same pan used to saute the mushrooms, with whatever oil was left behind, to the stove and place over medium-high heat. Carefully add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat for 1 minute.
Increase the heat to medium-high and saute for about 5 minutes, or until all of the liquid released by the mushrooms has evaporated. Carefully transfer the mushroom mixture to a plate and set aside.
Place 2 tablespoons of the shredded cheese on the bottom half of each tortilla and top with 2 tablespoons of the mushroom mixture. Fold the tortilla over creating a half moon.
Place as many tortillas as will fit comfortably in the pan. Allow the quesadillas to sear for 1 minute, carefully flip over and sear for another minute. Remove from the pan and carefully place on a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, carefully adding more oil to the skillet as needed.
Serve the quesadillas warm, accompanied by Mexican crema and tomato salsa. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro.
Note 1: When handling peppers, experts recommend wearing rubber gloves and not touching your skin or eyes during or afterward.
Note: Mexican crema is a staple on Mexican tables. Do not confuse Mexican crema for sour cream. The flavor is more sour and a bit saltier as well. In addition to providing flavor and texture to a dish, the cream also serves as a neutralizer for the heat of chiles. It's a good option to have around for those who don't like hot foods. You can buy it in the market or prepare it at home.
To prepare a yield of 2 cups, combine 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set it out at room temperature for 3 hours. Transfer to a serving bowl if using right away, or move to an airtight container and refrigerate if storing. When purchasing the sour cream, pay attention to the expiration date. The crema can be made and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for as long as the sour cream would last. Bring the crema to room temperature before serving.

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