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Maybe it's that our stove and oven have been "on vacation" for nearly two weeks, or that the majority of my daily intake comes from gelato (don't judge: it's summer), but I've been desperately craving crispy, melted, and golden-brown, the textures and looks you can only get by applying heat.
This is the kind of dinner I spend the day fantasizing about (and it just so happens to be what I've always wished poolside snack shacks would serve): freckled tortillas filled with just as many sautéed greens as strings of melty cheese—because as much as I love a cheesy quesadilla, I don't love dodging spurts of grease.
Sauté the hearty greens of your choice (kale, mustard, dandelion, collards) with shallots, chile flakes, and jalapeños. Then warm your tortillas—I prefer the texture and flavor of corn, though flour tortillas are generally more pliable and, in most parts of the US, available in larger sizes—and sprinkle the cheese on top.
Neither feta nor cheddar is traditional, per se, but I like the mix of something crumbly and salty with something sharp and oozy. For a similar effect, you could use cotija and Monterey Jack, or queso fresco and queso Oaxaca, or—why the heck not—goat cheese and Gruyère. When the cheese starts to soften, spoon the greens on top, slap one side of the tortilla over the other, and cook, flipping once, until the tortilla is browning and the cheese is melted (if you're lucky, it'll pull apart in gossamer strands as soon as you bite in).
I like to cut the quesadillas into small triangles—it's easier to lose track of how many I've eaten—and to serve them with avocado slices (the mild creaminess offsets the bitter greens and sharp cheese) and fiery salsa.
They're much more satisfying than a pile of sautéed greens or a pile of cheese-only quesadillas. And these will be here for you even when tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and corn—our summer darlings—are hard to come by. Now I'm not that I'm saying the season is ending... I'm just suggesting you best start practicing your quesadilla techniques tonight.
- 2 tablespoons oil or butter, divided
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeño, seeds and white membranes removed, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled, and roughly chopped
- 1 pound cooking greens, like kale, mustard greens, dandelion, chard, ribs removed and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 small corn tortillas
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 pound grated cheddar cheese
- Salsa, lime wedges, and/or guacamole, for serving (optional)
Tuck it in a tortilla
What's the dinner you spend all day looking forward to eating? Tell us in the comments below.