These broccoli quesadillas forever opened my heart and mind to quesadillas' deliciousness. They have layers of flavor from charred broccoli and red onion, a smoky-spicy-tangy chipotle-peanut sauce, and lots of melty, salty cheese. They take a little more effort than a clean-out-the-fridge type of quesadilla, but the pay-off is so worth it. —EmilyC
For the quesadillas
canola oil, divided, plus more for cooking quesadillas
large broccoli crown (or 2 small), about 400 grams or 14 ounces
small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
kosher salt, to taste
1 to 1 1/2 cups
crumbled cotija, crumbled queso fresco, or shredded Monterey Jack cheese
soft corn or flour tortillas (about 6-inches in diameter)
For serving: 1/2 cup sour cream, lime wedges
For the chipotle-peanut sauce
peanuts (I like roasted and salted)
chipotle chiles in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobe sauce (from the can)
2 to 3 teaspoons
honey, or to taste
white wine vinegar
kosher salt, to taste
In This Recipe
To shave the broccoli: Trim the crown of any discolored areas and cut into quarters. Use the slicing blade of a food processor (or a sharp knife) to cut the broccoli into 1/4-inch slices. You should have about 4 to 4 1/2 cups. Set aside. (Tip: wipe the bowl of the food processor clean, and use it for Step 2.)
To make the chipotle-peanut sauce: In a food processor or blender, combine peanuts, chipotles, adobe sauce, water, olive oil, vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Process until smooth. Taste a small amount to gauge spiciness, then add honey, to taste, to balance the heat. Taste again, and adjust seasoning and acidity. Add more water (a teaspoon or two at a time) to loosen the sauce, if needed.
To make the filling: In a 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion. Sauté until tender and browned around the edges, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add another tablespoon of oil, then the broccoli; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the chipotle-peanut sauce, lower the heat, and cook another minute to warm through. Season with salt and a few squeezes of lime juice, to taste.
To make quesadillas: In a large skillet, heat a teaspoon of oil over medium heat, then place the tortillas in the skillet (working in batches to fit). Quickly sprinkle the whole tortilla with cheese, then spread the broccoli mixture (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup) over half the tortilla and fold in half. Flip quesadilla; cook, pressing down a few times, until the cheese is fully melted and the tortilla is nicely toasted on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes in total. **Alternatively, you can make the quesadillas with two full tortillas, which I sometimes do if my corn tortillas aren’t pliable.
For serving, stir together sour cream and 1/4 cup of the chipotle-peanut sauce (or more or less, to taste). Cut quesadillas into wedges, and serve with sour cream and lime.