Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Chicken-Avocado Quesadilla with Cucumber Salsa

Quesadillas are one of my go-to dishes when I want a quick, super-simple dinner on the table that’s still flavorful and inviting with (mostly) fresh ingredients. Here, the salsa is as fresh as it gets—a few veggies, herb, a little lime juice, seasoning, that’s it. Let it stand while you prepare the quesadillas to give the flavors time to meld. It’s light, fresh, and very tasty.

Serves 4

  • 1 cup chopped seedless cucumber
  • 2/3 cup chopped seeded tomato
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp chile-garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp crumbled dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large firm-ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 4 9-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded queso quesadilla (or Monterrey jack)
  • sour cream (optional)
Shredded Chicken 
Shredded Cheese
  1. Combine the cucumber, tomato, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice in a small bowl and season with salt. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken, chile-garlic sauce, and oregano and cook, stirring constantly to combine, 2 minutes.
Salsa Ready to Mix 
Cucumber Salsa
  1. Add the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the avocado, combining well.
Chicken Mixture 
Avocado Added
  1. Lay the tortillas on a work surface and spread 1/4 of the chicken mixture on 1/2 of each. Divide the cheese on top of the chicken mixture and fold the other sides of the tortillas over the filling. Press gently to flatten.
  2. Heat a grill pan (or large cast-iron skillet) over medium-high heat.
  3. Brush the pan with oil and place 2 quesadillas in it side by side. Use a grill press or large, heavy spatula to press the tortillas as they cook, 2-3 minutes on 1 side, until golden brown and grill marks appear.
  4. Turn and grill until the other sides are golden brown and the quesadillas are hot throughout, 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the other 2 quesadillas.
Chicken Layer
Cheese Layer
Beginning to Grill 
After Turning
To serve, cut each quesadilla into 2 wedges. Spoon salsa (and sour cream, if using) on top and pass remaining salsa at the table.

Chicken-Avocado Quesadilla with Cucumber Salsa

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