Monday, June 25, 2007

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

I've been trying to come up with something tasty that I can make for the second round of the Platinum Chef Challenge. The ingredients we have to work with are great - corn, hot peppers, and cheese on the savoury side and blueberries and citrus on the sweet side. The sweets were easy and I knew I wanted to do something Mexican for the savoury recipes, I just couldn't think of what! I was going to do an enchilada thing - maybe use my basic chicken enchilada recipe and add some corn to it but that seemed not very challenging. I just found a recipe for some quesadillas which incorporated corn so I tweaked that to my liking and came up with the following... enjoy!

These are really tasty - the jalapeno adds a nice kick - and are relatively healthy since they have several different veggies and plenty of protein from the beans (great for vegetarians).

This recipe could be used as an appetizer or you could pair it with some rice and a crispy salad to be used as a light lunch or dinner. Additionally, you could add some grilled chicken or carne asada for some extra protein. However, rice and beans are complimentary proteins so if you serve this with some rice you really wouldn't need anything else.

Serves 4

1 ear of corn or 4 servings of frozen corn (yes, I cheated and used the frozen corn! I am sure it's amazing with the "real" stuff... I'll try that next time)
1/2 (15-oz.) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup total red and white onion, chopped (you can just use one type of onion or you could sub green onions)
1 jalapeno pepper, minced and seeded

1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
2 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey-jack cheese


1. Heat the grill. Remove the silk from the corn but leave the husks intact. Place the corn on a gas grill over medium-high heat and grill for about 12 minutes until the corn is tender. Turn the corn frequently during grilling. Remove the corn from the grill and allow it to cool. If you use frozen corn, just cook the corn according to package directions.

2. Remove the husks from the corn and use a sharp knife to scrape off the kernels. Place the corn kernels in a medium bowl (do this if you use frozen or fresh corn).

3. Add the beans, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt to the corn. Spread the corn mixture evenly over half of each tortilla and sprinkle each with 1/2 cup of the cheese. Fold the tortilla over the filling.

I think the filling, without cheese, would make a wonderful salsa!

4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the quesadillas to the skillet and cook for 8 minutes, turning once.

Enjoy with rice. Other options are salsa, low-fat or fat-free sour cream, and guacamole; however, I think these have enough flavour that you don't need a lot of "extras."

The inspiration for this recipe came from The Cooking Club of America's Cooking Pleasures Magazine.

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