Well, I'm back North and while it doesn't feel like spring is here yet, the trees are blooming, I had my first allergy attack last night, and I'm contemplating getting an air conditioner for my tiny apartment. I'm from Texas. We need air conditioners. Trust me here.
Because the calendar and the trees and my tiny hot apartment say so, I made some spring-inspired quesadillas last week that were divine. I'm still trying to use up my surplus of frozen shrimp and this was the perfect way to do so.
First, I thawed about 24 shrimp, took the tails off, and patted them dry. Then I tossed in a spice mixture of garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. I let the shrimp soak up the spices for about 30 minutes.
When the shrimp and spices had thoroughly become acquainted, I sauted them in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes or so. I just wanted to heat them through.
When the shrimp were heated through, I removed them from the skillet and began to assemble my quesadillas. I made them with corn tortillas, because as I've said, I'm obsessed with them lately. I built the tortilla by layering a bit of cheese, then a couple of shrimp,
then a lot of cilantro, because I think cilantro is the quintessential spring flavor,
then a bit more cheese,
and sandwiched all that together with two corn tortillas.
Then I heated another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for about a minute, and added the quesadilla. I let it cook for a couple of minutes on either side.
The tortillas should be crispy but not all the way fried like a corn chip. I served with a dollop of sour cream and plenty more cilantro.
These kind of reminded me of tostadas, and that's why I liked them so much. They were flavorful but fresh and light, with just a tiny bit of crunch from the tortilla. I had these for lunch one day but they would be great for a quick dinner. If you like quesadillas (and who doesn't?) and you want something fresh, this is your recipe.
Crispy Shrimp Quesadillas (makes 2 quesadillas)
24 cooked frozen shrimp, thawed and with the tails removed.
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 (or a pinch) teaspoon of cayenne pepper (this is spicy, ya'll!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 corn tortillas
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
lots of chopped cilantro
Saute shrimp for 3-5 minutes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shrimp is heated through. Remove from skillet and clean skillet.
On one tortilla, layer half of 1/4 cup cheese on the bottom, then about 12 shrimp, then lots of cilantro, and the other half of the 1/4 cup of cheese. Top with another tortilla.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet and heat on medium until oil is hot. Add quesadilla and cook 3-5 minutes on each side, until tortillas are slightly crispy.
Repeat for however many tortillas you want to make.
Top with a dollop of sour cream and more chopped cilantro and cut in half.