“Shrimp Quesadillas” is quickly becoming one of our favorite supper dishes. They also make a great appetizer for a party such as an upcoming Superbowl football game gathering. If you haven’t tried to prepare these at home, then you are missing out on an easy-to-prepare Mexican entree. The recipe for shrimp quesadillas takes only a few ingredients. After they are made, pile on the toppings and serve! Here’s what we did.
Although tacos and homemade “taco kits” have been around since I was a young, we’ve just noticed quesadillas on restaurant menus in recent years. How did we miss these? Quesadillas are worth learning to cook.
What is a quesadilla?
This Mexican dish consists of either a corn or flour tortilla which is filled with an assortment of ingredients and then grilled. Sort of like a sandwich. A whole quesadilla (the type found in most restaurants) consists of two tortillas which are filled and then fried. A half quesadilla is a single tortilla which is folded in half like a moon shape or crescent. Without a quesadilla press, I find it much easier to make half quesadillas at home.
Quesadillas are filled with cheese, either spicy chicken, shrimp, beef or pork and vegetables before they are grilled. Eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner or for a snack or party appetizer. Yum!
Simple Entree & Appetizer — 3 main ingredients
My quesadillas are sort of a Cajun and Mexican fusion. They consist of three main ingredients — flour tortillas, shrimp and cheese. I sautéed the shrimp in oil adding Creole seasoning to spice them up. One pound of headless, frozen shrimp tails was easily enough to fill four large tortillas. For the cheese, I found a mild, shredded Mexican blend which worked well. And I added green onions, which I love.
Making the Recipe
Frozen, peeled, headless shrimp are plentiful in stores in Louisiana. We are so lucky living here in a state along the Gulf Coast. But if you don’t have shrimp, then chopped and cooked chicken, beef or pork can be substituted. For this recipe, it is best to use small shrimp, (50 to 70 count), rather than large jumbo shrimp. The frozen shrimp defrost quickly in a refrigerator (I put them in a bowl with a little water) since the shrimp are individually frozen. Drain the defrosted shrimp and sauté in a small amount of oil adding Creole seasoning and cooking the shrimp until they are pink. This takes only a few minutes.
Each quesadilla is made individually. I used my trusty cast iron skillet for frying the tortillas rather than going out and purchasing a tortilla maker. Heat at a little oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add a large flour tortilla and cook until it begins to bubble and puff up. You must experiment with adjusting the temperature of the stove so the tortilla heats and browns but doesn’t burn. If the oil is not hot enough, you’ll take what seems like “forever” to make the quesadillas.
Fold in half and brown each half. Press down on the tortilla with a spatula so the cheese sticks together. After cheese melts and the second side browns, then remove to a serving platter. (I kept them warm in the oven until ready to serve.)
That’s all there is to it. It does take about five minutes to fry each tortilla, so the whole process to make four of these took about 25 minutes working non-stop. So when planning, allow enough time for the frying
To serve, cut each crescent quesadilla into fourths. Pass around an assortment of toppings — lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chopped jalapeno peppers — and let each person add their own toppings. Two of these slices are plenty for a serving — unless you are really hungry. And get the toppings ready ahead of time earlier in the day. My recipe for pico de gallo can be made the prior day. It’s better that way.
These are delicious. They are a welcome change from tacos from time to time!
- 1 pound frozen, headless peeled shrimp (50 – 70 count)
- Canola or vegetable oil
- Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning or other Creole seasoning blend
- 4 large (8″ to 10″) flour tortillas
- 2 cups shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
- 4 sliced green onions, whites and parts of green tops
- assorted toppings — sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, chopped jalapeno peppers, salsa, more green onions
Method and Steps:
- To defrost shrimp, place in medium-sized bowl with water. Defrost shrimp in refrigerator. When thawed, drain well. Set aside.
- Heat canola or vegetable oil in medium-sized skillet until heated. Add drained, defrosted shrimp and sprinkle on Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning. Stir and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove, drain and set aside.
- Heat 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat in a 10″ cast iron skillet. Add one tortilla. Fry until the tortilla bubbles and browns. Adjust heat, lowering the stove’s temperature, if the tortilla browns too quickly.
- Flip the tortilla over so the brown side is up. Add 1/4 of the cooked, drained shrimp to one-half side of the tortilla along with 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese and a sprinkle of green onions. Fold the second half of the tortilla over the fillings. Fry, pressing down on the tortilla with a spatula. Cook for about 30 seconds until it begins to brown.
- Carefully flip the tortilla over and cook the second side until it is brown and the cheese melts.
- Remove to a oven-proof dish. Place in 250 degree oven.
- Cook each remaining tortilla in the same manner.
- When all the tortillas are cooked, transfer to cutting board, slice into fourths.
- Serve the quesadillas with assorted toppings.