Though we're quesadilla purists, we find this embellished version to be irresistible.
2 small red onions, sliced very thin
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
5 garlic cloves, halved
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
unsalted butter or lard (optional)
eight 7-inch flour tortillas
2 cups shredded or grated cheese
1 cup minced fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
3 slender scallions, minced
1 jalapeno chili, trimmed, seeded, and minced
1. Boil the onions in a saucepan with just enough salted water to cover for 1 minute. Drain the onions in a colander and discard the water. Return the onions to the saucepan with the cider vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and salt. Add just enough water to cover the onions, bring to a boil, and boil the mixture for 3 minutes. Transfer the onions and liquid to a glass bowl and let stand for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
2. If using butter or lard, place about a tablespoon of either in a large, heavy sauté pan over moderate heat. Heat until almost sizzling. Or, place a large, heavy sauté pan over moderate heat for 2 minutes.
3. Lay out 4 of the tortillas on a counter, and divide the cheese among them, making sure to spread the cheese out to the edges of the tortillas. Divide the pickled onions, the minced cilantro, the scallions, and the jalapeno among the 4 tortillas. Top each one with another tortilla.
4. Cook a quesadilla for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is browned slightly. Repeat with the remaining 3 quesadillas.
5. Cut the quesadilla into 8 wedges each, and garnish with the cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately.
Note: While you're finishing the quesadillas, the ones already cooked may be kept warm on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven.
Though we're quesadilla purists, we find this embellished version to be irresistible. Once again, you can dry-fry it, or you can add some butter or lard to the fry pan if you prefer it a little slicker. Makes 32 quesadilla wedges, perfect for party appetizers.