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Wild Mushroom Quesadillas

Many varieties of exotic mushrooms are in the market these days, some gathered from the wild and others cultivated commercially. Forest-gathered mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini (cèpes), morels, matsutake, lobster and others, can be found seasonally at specialty grocers and farmers’ markets. Cultivated varieties like portobello, cremini, shiitake, oyster and enoki mushrooms are available in most markets year-round.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil for coating 
  • 1 mild green chili, such as Anaheim or poblano 
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter 
  • 1/4 lb. fresh wild mushrooms, such as porcini (cèpes), chanterelles, morels, shiitakes or portobellos, finely chopped  
  • 1 Tbs. pure chili powder  
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1/4 cup salsa  
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 4 large flour tortillas 
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese 

Directions:

Prepare a hot fire in a grill. Oil the grill rack.

Grill the green chili directly over high heat, turning to char and blister it on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper bag, close the bag and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel the chili, then cut it open to remove the seeds and stem. Mince the chili and set aside.

In a fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms, minced chili, chili powder and garlic and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the salsa and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Grill the tortillas on one side only until soft and lightly grill-marked, 2 to 3 minutes. On a work surface, lay out 4 sheets of aluminum foil slightly larger than the tortillas. Coat the foil with vegetable oil. Place a tortilla, grilled side down, on each piece of foil and spoon one-fourth of the mushroom mixture and one-fourth of the cheese on one half of each tortilla. Fold the tortillas over the mixture and pinch the edges together with your fingers. Do not overfill the tortillas. Fold the foil over the filled tortillas and crimp the edges to seal.

Grill the quesadilla packets directly over high heat, turning them once, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove a packet from the grill and open the foil. The cheese should be melted and the tortillas lightly golden and crisp. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes more if needed. Remove the foil and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Grilling, by Denis Kelly (Simon & Schuster, 2002).