I made these quesadillas the other night as an afterthought to go along with a pot of rice and beans, but the quesadillas ended up being the star of the meal. I used a spice blend from a wonderful spice shop in Denver, CO called Savory. Normally, I am not a big fan of spice blends, but all of the blends from Savory I have tried are perfectly balanced and utterly usable. The main ingredients in the blend I used here, the Adobo Caribbean blend, are onion powder, garlic powder, salt, sugar, cumin, Mexican oregano, black pepper, and red chile (note: not chili) powder, so if you don’t want to buy this blend, use about 1/4 tsp of each of these ingredients, plus the extra cumin and oregano the recipe calls for (you should taste while cooking and adjust the spices as necessary as the proportions of the Adobo blend are probably not as equitable as the alternative I suggest).
I used frozen corn for this recipe, but this summer I will make it with fresh corn! (Note: canned corn will not work here.)
1 TB butter or oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 10 oz. package of frozen corn (or the equivalent of fresh corn kernels cut off the cob)
2 tsp Adobo Caribbean spice blend (or 1/4 tsp of each of the spices listed above)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
4 oz sharp cheddar and/or jack cheese, divided
4 flour tortillas
Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sautÃ© for a minute. Add corn, then stir in Adobo blend, cumin, and oregano. Keep cooking, stirring frequently using a wooden spatula. Once or twice while cooking, add a splash of water and use the spatula to scrape all the spices that are sticking to the bottom of the pan; this deglazing will impart of warm, caramelized flavor to the corn. The water should evaporate quickly at this high heat. After about 10 minutes, or once the corn is browned, the onions soft, and the water evaporated (the mixture should be very dry), taste the corn mixture and add salt and pepper if needed (the Adobo blend has salt in it, so be sure to taste before salting), turn off heat and set aside.
Heat up your griddle, or large cast iron or non-stick skillet (I used my cast iron griddle). No need to add oil or butter, tortillas brown nicely without the use of added fat. Place a tortilla on the griddle and, working quickly, place about 1/8 of the shredded cheese evenly over half of the tortilla, then put on top of that as much corn as half a tortilla can bear, 1/4 -1/2 cup, then top off with another 1/8 of the cheese (having cheese above and below the corn mixture helps the whole thing hold together). Fold the tortilla over the filling and grill until golden-brown, then carefully flip the quesadilla over and brown the other side. Repeat process with next three tortillas (if using a griddle, you can do two at once).