Mexican open-air markets are packed with locals and tourists who come to buy locally made and produced goods. You can buy anything from baskets and huaraches to produce, meat, and cheese. And then there are the delicious aromas of food being cooked on site. You can watch the local ladies making fresh tortillas for tacos and quesadillas and licuadoras blending fruit drinks. The quesadillas are particularly appealing. This recipe is for a quesadilla stuffed with a simple mixture of chilies and onions with queso blanco. On the street or in the market, your quesadilla would come with salsa on the side. At home, I like to serve quesadillas on a platter with an assortment of pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa, and tomato salsa with slices of avocado and wedges of lime on the side. Yes, you can buy salsas at the store, but por que? They are easy to make at home and they taste so much better. Here, I have included a recipe for a spicy salsa verde. It is made with tomatillos and serrano chilies. If you like your salsa hot, use 2 serranos - (caution: the salsa is made WITH the serrano seeds for an eye-watering kick) If you prefer things a bit more tame, use 1 serrano chile. - Waverly —Waverly
Test Kitchen Notes
Mexican cooking can be so labor-intensive that it's tempting just to head to the nearest taco truck instead. But this salsa verde, made by charring tomatillos and serranos in a cast-iron skillet, couldn't be simpler (garlic-lovers might want to think about throwing in an extra clove), and the onion-poblano filling lends a nice bite to the primordial ooze of melted asadero cheese. ¡Buen provecho! - Kukharka —mitschlag
tomatillos, husks removed, tomatillos halved
1 or 2
serrano chilies, stems removed
clove garlic, crushed
salt, to taste
small white onion, sliced into thin half moons
poblano peppers, charred, skinned, stemmed, seeded, and then cut into thin strips
white corn tortillas
Asadero or Chihuahua cheese (use Jack if you can't find Mexican cheese)
MAKE THE SALSA VERDE: Heat a large skillet over HIGH heat. Place tomatillo halves cut-side down first. Cook until charred on both sides. Add whole serranos and char on all sides. Place charred tomatillos and serranos in a blender or food processor with garlic and salt. Blend for a short time - the consistency should be a puree with chunks. TIP: ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS WELL AFTER HANDLING CHILIES OR USE DISPOSABLE GLOVES.
SAUTE ONION AND CHILE: In a large skillet, heat oil over MEDIUM HIGH. When oil is hot, add onion and poblano peppers and saute until lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Remove vegetables from skillet and set aside.
ASSEMBLE AND PAN-FRY THE QUESADILLA: There should be some oil leftover in the skillet. If not, add just enough to coat the pan. Place 1 tortilla in the hot skillet and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 30 seconds per side. Place 1/4 of the vegetable mixture in the tortilla. Top with 1/4 of the cheese and then fold tortilla in 1/2. Press the edges together as the cheese melts. When cheese is melted and quesadilla is golden brown, remove from skillet and place on paper towel. Cook the remaining 3 tortillas the same way.
SERVE: Serve quesadillas blancas with a variety of salsas on the side.
Waverly used to be a lawyer and is now a mother 24/7. She has made a commitment to cooking for her family and absolutely loves it even when her family does not. She is teaching them, one meal at a time, to enjoy wholesome homemade food. She abhors processed food but recognizes its insidious nature and accepts the fact that her children will occasionally get some Skittles, Doritos, or the like. Her philosophy and hope is that if she teaches them well at home, they will prefer wholesome healthy foods when they go out into the world without her.