Here in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, we don’t get THE most authentic Mexican food. People from Mexico city or other parts of the country often say “the tacos here are nothing like where I’m from”. Now that we traveled throughout the country, we are in agreement with these sentiments. The tacos that I’ve had throughout Mexico city can’t compare to what we get here. Sorry Playa, you can’t beat everybody at everything. You can take your beaches as some of the best in the world instead.
It’s also interesting what people think they will get when they order certain food items. For example, if you can find a burrito on a menu here, I would be shocked, they are far and few between. Quesadillas are usually ‘natural’, which means a popular Mexican cheese, like Oaxaca or Panela being the only item inside. You can find fajitas, but they’re more for the tourists. This is a taco town.
Tortillas here are eaten every day, with every meal. I recall when I first moved here, seeing young children walk down the street with a few coins in their hands, getting however many tortillas de maiz (corn) that were required for that meal. They are cheap, hot, and made fresh everywhere all day long. As with everything, some Tortillerias are better than others. We have a few spots in this town where, if we are buying corn tortillas, we’ll only go to them.
Honestly though, I still prefer flour tortillas. There are very few places that make them fresh here, but they still have them. We used to stop at one shop for fresh flour tortillas, then go a few blocks a way for fresh Oaxaca cheese, something my still daughter begs me for every time she sees a place that makes it, (she’s actually quite the Oaxaca cheese snob) and have that as our snack. Simple, yet delicious.
These quesadillas are an old recipe that I’ve been making for parties for years. They are more Italian style, I’d say, even though I use Argentinian chorizo now instead of Italian sausage because it’s cheaper and more accessible to me.
If you don’t feel like turning on the bbq just for these, you can fry them in a little oil. Whenever the hubby isn’t around to grill them (he’s the BBQ person in our family), I’ll use one of those little frying pans with the ridges that give them the nice grill marks and keep these babies less greasy.
You don’t have to cut them up like I do, you can make them for dinner and serve them whole. In fact, a few years after I continually made this for an appetizer my family asked if I could just make them for dinner, they’re that good. Serve them with some crema if you can get it or some good ole sour cream never hurt.
You can also make them earlier in the day and add them to the grill for later if you are grilling in favorable weather. The perfect party food.
- 1 TAB olive oil, plus more for brushing tortillas
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 red peppers, fresh, finely chopped OR small jar of roasted red peppers, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb Italian sausage, sweet or hot, removed from casing and crumbled
- 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 2 TAB parsley, chopped
- 1 TAB jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
- 6 flour tortillas (10 inches) or 12 flour tortillas (5 inches)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute about 5 minutes. If using fresh peppers, add them to the pan and saute for another 5 minutes. (If using roasted, add them in the next step). Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add cumin and salt, cook another minute. Transfer to a bowl.
Cook sausage in same pan until no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Add to vegetable mixture. Add cheese, parsley, and pepper and stir well to combine.
Brush one side of tortillas with olive oil. Arrange filling in un-tortilla and fold over to make a half moon. Repeat until tortillas and filling are finished.
To Grill: On a BBQ, grill on medium heat for about 1 1/2 minutes each side, or until crisp and filling is warmed through. Remove to platter.
To Fry: With a small amount of oil in a pan, fry quesadillas on medium heat until crispy on each side. Remove to platter.
Cut tortillas in 4 pieces each and serve with sour cream and or guacamole.