The grilled cheese sandwich of the nineties
unsalted butter or lard (optional)
eight 7-inch flour tortillas
2 cups grated or shredded cheese
1. If using butter or lard, place about a tablespoon of either in a large, heavy sauté pan over moderate heat. Heat until almost sizzling. If you aren't using butter or lard, simply place a large, heavy sauté pan over moderate heat for 2 minutes.
2. 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. Top with the other 4 tortillas. Lift one package with a spatula, and place in the sauté pan. Cook, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are lightly browned. (The trick is to melt the cheese before the exteriors of the tortillas become very brown and hard; you want them to remain soft.) Repeat with the remaining 3 quesadillas.
3. Cut each quesadilla into 8 wedges, and serve immediately. Note: While you're finishing the quesadillas, the ones already cooked may be kept warm on a baking sheet in a 200 degrees oven.
This is the grilled cheese sandwich of the nineties -- just as simple, just as satisfying, but ever more exotic. Great for party appetizers, or quick lunches, or first courses of Mexican meals. We make it with flour tortillas, because finding good ones is much easier than finding good corn tortillas. Makes 32 quesadilla wedges, perfect for party appetizers