Grilled quesadillas are fun, easy starters for any cookout. These ubiquitous Mexican snacks are as easy to assemble as they are to grill and will immediately whet your guests’ appetites. I love the charred smokiness that roasted poblano chiles (rajas) provide, and my “hot-head” friends love the added jalapeños. If you are not a fan of the heat, substitute grilled or sautéed mushrooms, bell peppers, or green onions for the chiles.
- Yield: 6 quesadillas
- 4 poblano chiles
- 6 jalapeño chiles
- 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 12 corn tortillas
- Vegetable oil
- Charred Tomatillo Sauce
- Crema, homemade or store bought
Roast the Chiles
- Heat your grill to high (550°F) and close the lid. Wait at least 15 minutes before continuing.
- Oil the grill grates with a vegetable oil–soaked paper towel held with a long pair of tongs.
- Place the poblano and jalapeño chiles directly on the grill grates and allow them to char on all sides (you are looking for the skin to turn black). It should take about 3 minutes per side for a total of about 12 minutes. To help speed the process, close the grill lid. When the chiles are charred all over, seal them in a plastic bag and set aside for 5 minutes. This will trap steam, allowing the skins to separate from the flesh. If you are going to grill the quesadillas right away, keep the grill on high and close the lid.
- Remove the chiles from the bag, cut off the stems, and, if desired, remove the seeds (this will decrease the heat). Lightly scrape the charred skin off the chiles with the blade of your knife. Alternatively, if your skin is not sensitive to the hot chiles, you can remove the skin with your fingers. To preserve their smoky flavor, do not rinse the chiles under water; it’s okay if some of the charred skin stays attached to the chile. Cut the chiles into long strips. Set aside. Assemble the Quesadillas
- Place a tortilla on your work surface and top with approximately ¼ cup of cheese. Lay about ⅙ of the roasted chile strips over the cheese and top with another ¼ cup of cheese and a second corn tortilla. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until you’ve formed 6 quesadillas. Grili the Quesadillas
- If your grill is not heated, heat your grill to high (550°F) and close the lid. Wait at least 15 minutes before lowering the heat to medium-high and continuing.
- Lightly brush one side of the quesadillas with vegetable oil and place them oiled side down on the grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the bottom tortilla develops grill marks and turns golden brown.
- Lightly brush the tops of the quesadillas with a bit more vegetable oil and, being careful not to break them open, flip them over and cook for another 3 minutes. Serve
- Allow the quesadillas to cool for a few minutes before cutting in half or quarters. Serve with the charred tomatillo sauce and the crema.