Sunday, 3 April 2011

Quesadilla and chunky salsa - quick weekend lunch!

I used to work in this café in the town I grew up in on the coast of south west Ireland which would be pretty quiet during the winter and absolutely heaving with tourists during the summer. I remember once a coachload of German tourists all ordered the same thing - a toasted panini and we only had one grill! That was interesting, to say the least.
We had a kind of a tex-mex thing going alongside the brownies, bagels and soups, and I got a taste for this particular chunky salsa I used to make in buckets and now I'm devoted to it. It's more of a salad, than a salsa and I love it - it's the perfect foil to spicy jalapeno and greasy fried quesdailla - five ingredients: tomato, white onion, lime, coriander and salt. It is utterly delicious on plain salted tortilla chips as well and takes two seconds to make. I don't purport to know ANYTHING about Mexican food by the way - my idea of Mexican is basically peppers and onions covered in fajita spice with chicken. I don't even like beans, for god's sake. But this is really yummy, I promise - just no guarantees about it being authentically anything other than being delicious thanks to the combined wonders of cheese, butter and carbohydrate.

Chunky basic salsa
  • Handful of coriander (finely chopped)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Half a white onion
  • Half a lime, juiced
  • A decent amount of table salt


Chop the tomato cleanly in half, then slice into three or four thick vertical slices without disturbing the semi-circle shape of the tomato if possible, then turn it round and slice again making chunks - a sharp knife here helps or you'll end up with tomato mush and water! Do the same with the onion half, and mix together in a big enough bowl that you'll be able to thoroughly encorporate the salt, lime juice and coriander. Use your hand to make sure all the flavours blend, if you can be bothered - and taste as you go. More salt than you think you need is often the secret.

Quesadilla with cheese and jalapeno
Below are the ingredients per quesadilla - this is a really nice open recipe, so feel free to experiment. Avocado, roasted chicken strips, mince, quorn...or substitute the cheddar with feta and make it with spinach and sundried tomato! And work from there. This is my favourite though.
  • 1 tsp of soft-ish butter
  • 1 tortilla wrap
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of grated cheddar or similar
  • 4 or 5 jalapenos, depending on how much heat you like
Get a large frying pan good and hot, and have your cheese pre-grated at the ready. Smear a tsp or equivalent of  spoonful of butter on the underside of your wrap, then using your hand, put the tortilla in the pan and move it around so the butter coats the pan and wrap nicely as it melts. It'll sizzle pretty loudly if you're doing it right. 
Rapidly sprinkle your cheese over roughly one half of the wrap, quickly add your jalapenos, then fold the wrap over and press down with a spatula. The cheese will melt, the tortilla will crisp, flip it over until it gets lovely and dark but don't let it burn and don't panic if some of the cheese oozes out.

Slice it up like a pizza and serve it with some sour cream if you have some. So bad for you. And yet so good. And it really only takes about 2 minutes to make one. Enjoy!


  1. Sounds really good!

    I make the exact same salsa but also add in a finely chopped green chilli, to give it extra zing. Making the salsa in advance of the meal is also good, as it gives the flavours a chance to mix. And it's so healthy too! Om nom. :)

  2. The beauty of pico de gallo is that p. much anything goes as long as it has tomatoes and onion!


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