In a previous life, I made appetizers in the atrium dining room of an El Torito restaurant in Denver. It’s been closed for years, but I haven’t forgotten how to make a single dish. This one is pretty easy, really. The secret is to have all the ingredients prepped in advance, including the garnish. Assemble everything as quickly as possible after the quesadilla comes off the griddle, so it’s still hot when you serve it.
shredded cheese – half cheddar, half jack (pepper jack is my personal favorite)
chopped green onion
chopped green chiles
Warm a tortilla on a griddle. Flip it. Cover half of the tortilla with shredded cheese, then sprinkle some green onion and green chiles on the cheese. Watch carefully. As the edges of the cheese begin to melt, use a spatula to flip the “naked” side of the tortilla over the filling, then press down so it sticks to the cheese a bit. Flip the quesadilla. Press down again gently with the spatula. Cook until the underside starts to brown, or the cheese is completely melted. Move to a cutting board, and cut into wedges. Slide it all onto a plate, keeping the original half moon shape intact as much as possible.
Garnish (this is what makes it all so special):
Make some quick guacamole: half an avocado mashed with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some freshly ground pepper, and a tablespoon or so of your favorite salsa. If you’re a pig for guacamole like I am, go ahead and use the whole avocado and make a second quesadilla!
Chop a Roma tomato and a few more green onions, and slice some black olives.
Make a little bed of (shredded) lettuce next to the quesadilla. Pile some guacamole onto one side, and an equal amount of sour cream next to it. Sprinkle the tomato, onion, and black olive combo over everything.
Serve immediately with a nice margarita or a bottle of good Mexican beer. Enjoy on the patio for lunch, preferably with a gurgling fountain nearby.