Maybe you’re tired of cotija cheese popping up around these parts. We’re sorry. We really are. But it’s just so good, we keep pairing it with everything. Maybe three times in just over a month is too much, but you can’t fault us for working with what the good Lord gave us. And He gave us cotija cheese. That’s why we keep playing with other ingredients that really complement its flavor. A little knowledge for you: Did you know there are two types of cotija? The first is the grain cheese that crumbles upon cutting due to higher salt content and softer texture. The second is the tajo cheese that maintains its shape upon cutting due to lower salt content and higher fat content. Here in Southern California, Cacique seems to be the best brand of U.S. produced cotija cheese, so that’s what we’ve been using as of late. But enough of that, it’s quesadilla time!
These babies were actually inspired by the yam and cotija quesadillas from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger–the ladies behind Border Grill and Ciudad. Adding sweet apple slices, swapping red onions and sprinkling spicy red pepper just clicked in our brains. It’s the last time (this month) that cotija cheese makes an appearance. We promise! Bear with us, will you? Just this last time…Here’s another one for Noble Pig’s Potato Ho Down!
Mashed Sweet Potato, Apple and Cotija Quesadillas – Serves 3
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed, warm
2 apples, cored, peeled and sliced*
1 red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
6 tortillas (corn or flour)
4 ounces Cotija cheese
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan and add onions and apples. Cook until they turn begin to brown, approximately 15-20 minutes.
2. As onions and apples cook, heat tortillas slightly in the oven (300 degrees for 10-15 minutes) or on the stove in a pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray. They should not get crispy, only warm.
3. In a small bowl, mash warm sweet potatoes, honey, 1 tablespoon butter, lime juice and zest, cumin, cilantro and red pepper flakes.
4. Spread a layer of sweet potatoes, onion-apple mixture and then crumble cheese on one half of the tortilla and fold over. (Resist the urge to overfill.) Using remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon oil, toast quesadillas on both sides until golden brown.
5. For a little added snazzle, whisk a bit of chili pepper, honey and lime juice together and drizzle on top.
*These are Fujis. A crisp, sweet apple works best.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.