Imagine a crispy, toasted cheese sandwich, but enhanced with onions and potatoes. Have you got that in your head? Now add some garlic and a generous amount of cumin. Crispy, tasty quesadillas served with a fresh tomato and cucumber salsa. Are you sold? I promise I won’t take offence if you jump forward a few paragraphs and get your pans out ready to cook. If not read on for how this wonderful food made it’s way into my life.
Many, many years ago, when I was still hip and cool, I went to a music festival. I say Hip and Cool… BUT!! I went to The Cambridge Folk Festival. Not so cool and definitely not hip 😉
I am a secret country music fan, well not that secret now 😉 my boys have no idea that their mother is so uncool. They sing their little hearts out to Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Garth Brooks and George Strait, to name a few. They love it, I have a gorgeous video of them in their pyjamas singing and dancing to Rhinestone Cowboy. They think it is great, we have the music on loud and dance our way around the dining table. One day they will realise that I am seriously uncool 🙁 but until then I will continue to play the tunes loud.
Back to the festival. It was the middle of summer. Two days of warm English summer weather, the countryside was green and lush (bit different to the height of summer here) and we danced, sung and ate our way through the weekend. I had a great time. Plenty of folk and folk rock including a favourite of my youth Billy Bragg, and so many amazing food stalls. I spent most of my time sitting on a blanket eating 😳
I had a lot of firsts that weekend. In the food sense! It was the first time I had eaten empanadas, the first time I had a cone of Lebanese fried potato cubes, the first time I ate ostrich and the first time I had quesadillas.
This was way back in 2002 and the quesadilla I had then was filled with cheese, a stringy cheese with the texture of mozzarella but with a much stronger taste. I had never seen them before then, but within a couple of months I saw them served again, this time it was at a farmers market in Lincolnshire, here they were served filled with cheese, chicken and red onion. Then a short while later I read a recipe by Silvana Franco that used cheese, prosciutto and and chilli sauce. So with a recipe in my hand, I tried them for myself. Oh yum! Since then I have recreated them with so many ingredients. If I have left over chicken or lamb mince in the fridge then I quite often make the boys quesadillas. These are a great vegetarian option. The crispy tortilla is filled with a mixture of onions, cumin, garlic and potato. YUM!
I have never been to Mexico and I am sure that these are no where near the traditional Mexican Quesadilla. But they are tasty and in my kitchen that is the bottom line 🙂
Cumin Spiced Potato Quesadillas
For the salsa.
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 Lebanese cucumber or half a continental cucumber
- 1/2 red onion
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 small green chilli - optional
For the Quesadillas
- 3 medium potatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper - be generous with these
- 4 flour tortillas
- 200 g cheese (I use a mixture of strong cheddar and mozzarella)
For the salsa.
Finely chop the red onion and place in a small bowl with the juice of 1 lime. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Cut the flesh into small dice and place in another bowl.
Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, removed the seeds, cut into small dice and add to the tomato.
Stir through the chilli if using.
Add the onion and lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
For the Quesadillas
Cut the potatoes into small dice and boil for 10 minutes until just tender (the timing will depend on your size).
Slice your onion in half and then cut into thin half moons. Gently heat the olive oil and fry the onion on a low heat until tender and starting to colour.
Crush/grate the garlic and add to the onions along with the cumin and cook for a 2 extra minutes.
Add the potato and carefully turn and stir to allow everything to mingle together. Don't worry if some of the potato gets a bit mushed up, but aim for some chunks to remain in the mixture.
Spread a quarter of the potato mixture over one half of the tortilla and sprinkle over a quarter of the cheese.
Fold the tortilla in half and place in a dry frying pan and cook until the tortilla is golden on one side. Gently flip the quesadilla and cook on the other side until golden and the cheese is melted.
Place the quesadilla in a low oven to keep warm whilst you cook the remaining quesadillas.
Cut each quesadilla into three wedges and serve with the tomato salsa.
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