Mushroom Quesadillas

by Rachel on July 23, 2011

Mushroom Quesadillas

We attended an incredible charity event with the Chefs from Border Grill, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.  First of all, can I say how much I love these women?  I mean, seriously, they could not be more generous of spirit, funny, smart and fabulous.  They served us Mushroom Quesadillas with Epazote.  The quesadillas were so delicious that I had to come home and try to make my own.  It turns out that Epazote is hard to find in the US, either fresh or dried.  A reasonable substitute is dried Mexican Oregano that is now widely available in grocery stores.  If you buy some for this recipe I’ll promise to come up with other ways for you to use it so that it doesn’t sit gathering dust in your cupboard.  The mushrooms I used are also widely available – I bought all of mine at Trader Joe’s.  The cheeses are a bit more problematic.  You’ll find Manchego anywhere and everywhere.  The two Mexican cheeses that I used were Cotija and Panela.  I found both of them at our local non-chain grocery store on the cheese aisle.  TJ’s didn’t have either of them.  Cotija is drier and harder to melt.  Panela is meltier but may be harder to find.  Swap in some Jack Cheese if the Panela eludes you.  The Border Grill women made their own tortillas.  I bought organic flour tortillas at TJ’s which have a bit more substance and less of the mass produced blandness of standard grocery store tortillas.  I tip my hat to the Border Grill girls.  You are excellent chefs and incredibly generous folks.

Mushroom Quesadillas (serves six)

  • 10-oz Crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 10-oz Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 6-oz Shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large shallots, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10-oz Panela, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 5-oz Cotija, crumbled
  • 10-oz Manchego, thinly sliced
  • One 10-oz jar Salsa Verde (I used TJ’s)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (cut the tough last inch off of the stems and use the rest, along with the leaves)
  • 12 organic medium flour tortillas

Heat the tablespoon of butter in a large skillet or wok.  Add all of the mushrooms, shallots, wine, oregano, salt and pepper.  Sauté the mushrooms on medium-high heat for at least 15 minutes.  You want most of the water to evaporate from the mushrooms.  I don’t recommend adding any more salt to the mushrooms.  The cheeses are VERY salty.  Leave the mushrooms slightly under salted – to balance out the saltiness of the cheese.

Once the mushrooms have cooked down considerably, remove them from the heat and place them on a cutting surface.  Using a large knife, chop up the mushrooms until they are quite small in size.

Place the Salsa Verde in a blender or Cuisinart.  Add the cilantro and process on high until you have a smooth, bright green sauce.  We LOVE this sauce and use it in a number of dishes.  I’m going to post some other options for its use SOON, I promise.

Heat a griddle to 400 degrees.  I use either an electric griddle or the griddle that is a part of my stove.  Either way 400 degrees works really well.  It isn’t so hot that it burns the tortillas before the insides heat through.

Place as many tortillas as fit on your griddle.  Sprinkle even amounts of the three cheeses on the tortillas.  Sprinkle ¼ cup of the mushrooms over the cheese.  Sprinkle a tablespoon (or more) of the salsa verde over the mushroom cheese mixture.  Top with another tortilla.  Grill until lightly browned.  Flip and grill the other side.  You’ll find that these cheeses don’t melt the way cheddar or jack cheeses do.  They won’t get super gooey.  They will get hot all the way through – which is all you really need.  Serve immediately with more salsa verde as a garnish.

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