Saturday, August 7, 2010

A better grilled cheese

I am becoming a great fan of my comal, the once-lost and now-treasured traditional skillet from San Miguel. It is beginning to take on that dark shimmer that implies I know what I'm doing with it. With care, it should soon turn a lustrous black and be as perfectly non-stick as grandma's skillet -- if I had a southern grandma, which I didn't.

I used it today to made quesadillas, which are essentially grilled cheese sandwiches of an even more southern variety that, for me, provides the added of appeal of remembering one's vacation as one chews. You can use essentially the same ingredients, too; in other words, whatever sounds good or you need to use up. Start simple, as below, but do go wild. It's your kitchen, who will know? We served ours with fresh corn from our neighborhood market.

canola oil
small flour tortillas, 2 per serving
shredded Mexican-style cheese
sliced ham
salsa (such as Newman's Own Peach)
chopped cilantro
crema or well-mixed sour cream

Lightly coat comal or heavy skillet with canola oil and set over medium-high heat. When hot, place two tortillas on surface, wiggling to coat. Turn after 15-20 seconds or just golden. Top with a generous handful of cheese, a slice of ham, a drizzle of salsa and a little cilantro. Fold in half and press lightly. Flip after 15-20 seconds or until nicely browned -- don't walk away as they can burn quickly. Remove to plate when done. Top with crema and a little extra salsa and cilantro.

Drizzle a few drops of oil on comal, if needed, and repeat until everyone is full.

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