Weeknight Cooking

Sweet Potato and Cilantro Quesadilla with Fried Egg + Cumin Oil

March 19, 2013

Every Tuesday, Caroline Wright will be creating simple, civilized recipes for Food52 that feed four -- for under $20, in under 20 minutes.

Today: A smoky quesadilla that's hearty, without being heavy.

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I am living in Dallas these days, where Tex-Mex is lauded as practically its own tier on the food pyramid. With this regional food culture comes easy access to delicious ingredients at the supermarket like soft hand-formed corn tortillas and, too, a taste for smoky, hearty, skillet-cooked fare.

These quesadillas are only so named out of habit, as they are cheese-free (gluten- free, as it happens, as well); though with the warm potato filling and a sopping of runny egg yolk, I hardly noticed. The quesadillas are cooked in a dry, heavy skillet, which toasts and chars the corn tortillas rather than frying them. My husband, a tall man with an even taller appetite, admitted he liked this quesadilla as well as the kind he orders at our corner restaurant.

Sweet Potato and Cilantro Quesadilla with Fried Egg + Cumin Oil

Serves 4

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Lime wedges, for serving
8 small (about 6-inch) corn tortillas

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

As a freelance food writer and cook, I first wrote this style of recipe as a column on my blog, The Wright Recipes, as an excuse to cook good food for my friends in a quick and simple way. 

Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute ™ Meals grew into a cookbook that’s being published by Workman in May 2013. The recipes found here are original, made especially for Food52 to once again celebrate simple food with friends.


Photos by Caroline Wright

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Before her diagnosis, Caroline wrote a book on cakes called Cake Magic!. She started developing a birthday cake using her gluten-free mix found in that book. Check out other recipes she’s developing for her new life—and the stories behind them—on her blog, The Wright Recipes. Her next book, Soup Club, is a collection of recipes she made for her underground soup club of vegan and grain-free soups she delivers every week to friends throughout Seattle's rainy winter.


Dianecpa May 1, 2013
J J. March 20, 2013
This is great, but sweet potatoes are not in season yet. It's March here in Illinois. I LOVE it when there's recipes for things that are currently in season :)
Chanteclar March 20, 2013
Yummy. This will be my dinner tonight. I will bake my sweet potato, to concentrate the flavor. I know, it will take longer than 30 minutes. Chanteclar
Marshall G. March 20, 2013
Uhhh.... where's the Queso?
food-alovestory.com March 20, 2013
What an original recipe! With lime, cumin, sweet potato, and cilantro, it could almost be south Indian. GF and dairy free to boot ~ what's not to love? Can't wait to try this. Thanks!
Africancook March 20, 2013
Those look awesome. What I like best is your tip for how to char grill the tortillas as we live in a condo with no barbecuing facilities. Wow, the possibilities.
boulangere March 22, 2013
If you have a ridged grill pan, go ahead and prepare them on your stovetop. If not, use a cast iron skillet and some good heat.
boulangere March 19, 2013
I would hope this could be made for less than $20!
fiveandspice March 19, 2013
YUM!!! So many of my favorite things in one place (as was the fennel with burrata)! This is another one I'm simply going to have to try right away tonight.