6 Common Quesadilla Mistakes

6 Common Quesadilla Mistakes
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6 Common Quesadilla Mistakes

Boston chef Michael Schlow of Via Matta and Radius shares some pro tips on making the crispiest quesadillas this side of the Charles River.

Potato, Greens, and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Image Credit: Kana Okada

1. Use corn tortillas

With tacos, we always use corn tortillas. But with quesadillas, you need the pliability of flour tortillas to hold the cheese and the filling together. It needs to withstand the flip (more on that below).

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2. Make the quesadilla with two tortillas

The half-moon technique is easier to flip than a quesadilla made with two tortillas. Just spread your filling over half of the tortilla, then fold the other half over the filling. When the time comes to flip the quesadilla, slide a spatula (fish spatulas work particularly well here) under the open side, then flip the quesadilla over on the fold.

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3. Overstuff it

A quesadilla is better when you keep it on the lighter side. Only use about two heaping tablespoons of filling per large tortilla. Prepping your filling ahead of time is a good idea, making sure there's equal parts cheese to protein and/or vegetable. You want to use enough cheese because it will hold the whole thing together. Too little, and your filling will fall out. Chef Schlow loves combinations like shredded chicken with cotija and roasted poblanos, or carnitas with jack and jalapeño.

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4. Fill them with seafood

The flavor of fish, shrimp, or lobster will get lost in all that cheese (also, fish and cheese?) Proteins like duck, chicken, and pork work much better and can stand up to cheese, veggies, and toppings.

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5. Use too much oil

Flour tortillas absorb a lot of oil, so you only want to lightly coat the pan with oil. Use canola--olive oil is too much of an overpowering flavor.

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6. Cook it on high heat

Tortillas burn easily, so you want to fry your quesadillas on medium heat. It takes about a minute to a minute and a half to get each side crispy and golden--and your cheese will be perfectly melted, too.

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7. Use one pan for a crowd

To make multiple quesadillas, use a pancake griddle or a grill pan. You're welcome.

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8. Cook them ahead of time

Always cook your quesadillas fresh, when they're hot, crunchy, and gooey. Otherwise, they'll get soggy and the cheese will harden. If this does happen, you can pop them in the oven to warm them up--but they won't be as good as fresh out of the pan (or off the griddle).

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By Danielle Walsh

We're pretty thrilled with the Mexican restaurants that have been popping up lately, with their sopes and huaraches--not to mention the proliferation of gourmet tacos--and nary a single taco salad (with a crunchy-soggy tortilla bowl) in sight. Right on. But when we found out that Boston chef Michael Schlow of Via Matta and Radius was opening a Mexican restaurant called Barrio Cantina in the space of his old comfort-food joint, Happy's, we were surprised to see a whole section of the menu dedicated to quesadillas. Then we realized it was a brilliant idea.

"Quesadillas are the ultimate snack," Schlow says. "They're fast, they're crispy, they're gooey. They can be so many things. They're just a great vehicle for flavor." Next time we're in Boston, we'll stop by for a 'dilla and a wicked cold beeeah before a Sox game. Till then, we'll be cooking up our own, so we asked Schlow for some pro tips on making the crispiest quesadillas this side of the Charles River.

Check them out in the slideshow above.

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