Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Brie Quesadilla

My apologies, I just don't have anything to say for a witty introduction this week. I'm beat! Wiped out. Just plain tired and suffering a bit from writers block. Life has just been such a whirlwind lately and I'm starting to feel it. It's temporary though. I know that. We'll be back on track before ya know it.

But for now,  it's just kind of hard to write a sassy intro when you're just not feeling sassy. So, sassy intro aside, here's what I've got for you this week: Brie Quesadillas. More precisely, Caramelized Onion, Pear and Brie Quesadillas. So easy to make, so impressive and most importantly, so good. The very first step is to caramelize some onions so let's get started. . .

Peel an onion and cut it in half, root to tip. Then cut off the tip and root ends and toss them out. Cut each onion half into 1/4 inch-ish slices. Break up the half rings and toss them in a skillet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. There aren't really any exact measurements here, you want enough oil to coat the bottom of your pan but not so much that your onions are frying. It will also depend on the size of your onion and the quantity you want to make. I'm showing 1/2 of a large onion and about 2 tablespoons of oil here. Saute the onions over medium heat. This is a slow process, be patient.

Continue stirring over medium heat and the onions will wilt and begin to caramelize. This is what they look like after 10 minutes. Not nearly there, keep going.

Here is what they look like after 20 minutes. The volume is about half what it was and the onions are almost all deep brown in color. Don't try to rush this process by boosting the heat. You'll end up with burnt, bitter bits mixed with under cooked bits. Low and slow is the name of this game.

Let the onions cool and give them a rough chop. You can use these right away or store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to a week. Yu-u-um-me! As far as I'm concerned this is a condiment all by it's self. These little bits of glorious flavor will perk up anything. Try hamburgers, hot dogs, scrambled eggs, a bagel with cream cheese. ANYTHING! But here's what I'm going to do with them:

For the quesadilla you need your caramelized onions, a ripe pear, brie cheese and flour tortillas.

Start by peeling, coring and thinly slicing a ripe pear. The pear should be ripe and flavorful but not mushy.

Next cut some thin slices of brie. More than an 1/8-inch but not quite 1/4-inch. 3/8-inch? To technical? Anyway, you get it. You need some slices of brie.

To build your quesadilla heat a large skillet or griddle on medium heat. I love this cast iron griddle. I use it for everything. Throw some butter on there.

Then start with a tortilla, a few slices of brie cheese, a layer of pear slices and a sprinkling of the caramelized onions. If you're making a 1/2 quesadilla (like I'm showing) the flip one half over the other. Cook over medium heat until the brie starts to melt and the tortilla gets crispy.

Flip it over to crisp up the other side. Keep the heat medium to low. You don't want the tortilla to get too brown before the cheese and fillings are melted and heated through. Once both sides are crispy, remove to a cutting board and let rest for a few minutes. Then slice it up and enjoy. 

So so so yummy! And sophisticated. This would be great with a baby mixed green salad for a light but satisfying lunch, or how about having some friends over for a nice glass of wine and a nosh. For a bigger portion use two burrito sized tortillas instead of folding one in half or for smaller appetizer sized portions use small taco sized tortillas. Infinitely customizable. Your new "go to" appetizer.

Caramelized Onion Pear and Brie Quesadilla
Note: The amounts below are all approximate. You can increase/decrease the amounts and proportions based on your tastes and quantities needed.

1 medium onion
1-2 T. olive oil
1 8oz. wheel of brie
1 pear, peeled, cored and sliced thin
4 large or 8 small four tortillas

Peel the onion and cut in half, then cut each half into 1/4-inch slices.
In a 10-inch skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions are deep golden brown. 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and roughly chop.
Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Season with a bit of butter. Lay a tortilla on the griddle. Then layer on thin slices of brie cheese, pears and top with 3-4 tablespoons of the caramelized onions. Lay a second tortilla on top and cook over medium heat until the bottom is crispy and brie begins to melt. Flip and cook until both sides are crispy and fillings are heated through. Remove from heat and let rest for 2-3 minutes. Slice and serve.
Makes 2 large or 4 small quesadillas.

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