Flavourful flatbreads and quick quesadilla recipes | The modern cook
Anna Jones recipes: A flatbread is the epitome of versatility just fill it with whatever you happen to have to hand. Heres a caper, herb and egg mix and a speedy squash quesadilla to get you started
The happiest days of my childhood were spent in northern California, just north of San Francisco. We lived in a bungalow that had a small back garden with a lemon tree, spent weekends at the beach or picnicking in redwood forests.
Most nights we ate simply at home, leaning on the sunladen produce from surrounding farms: avocados for almost every meal, oranges and lemons straight from the trees. Sometimes, wed walk a couple of blocks to buy a peaky-topped cup of chocolate frozen yoghurt, which wed eat on the spot. It was all pretty wholesome in the times before we started venturing out for our dinner.
Later, as older kids, we loved those cheery American joints the ones with a menu longer than your arm, where the waitresses wear name badges and bottomless coffees are served all day. The food was always American with a nod to Mexico, and as kids we loved it. Crisp potato skins, topped with a melting of cheese dipped into chive-peppered sour cream, shoestring fries and burritos. But what we loved the most were the quesadillas two flour tortillas fried on the plancha until crisp, then sandwiched around a very generous layer of melted Monterey Jack cheese, cut into wedges and served with guacamole and salsa. These triangles of joy were served as a starter, but were really big enough to be a meal in their own right.
I make quesadillas a bit differently now, leaving the seriously cheese-laden ones to fond memory, along with chocolate milkshakes and knickerbocker glories. Instead, I use vegetables, pulses, herbs and even eggs to make textured fillings with pops of flavour that move from Mexico, to Italy, France, Morocco and back again. In fact, quesadillas are really just sandwiched flatbreads, which in some form or another youll find in almost every culture.
We make armies of them when we have a crowd to feed as they are the perfect vehicle for dipping, a great snack with a cold beer in hand, and are pretty fuss-free. A quesadilla allows you to play around and use what you have to hand. The main thing to think about is to fill your tortillas with something that will bind the two sides together some cheese, egg or soft mashed vegetables or beans are ideal.
Caper, herb and egg flatbreads
This recipe is as quick as they come and is one of the most flavourful little suppers I know. Its loosely based on a recipe by my friend Heidi Swanson (of the 101 Cookbooks blog). For the herbs, I used dill and basil, but mint, tarragon, parsley and chives would all work too.
Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a snack
A small splash of olive oil
2 medium corn or flour tortillas or wraps (about 15cm wide)
A few sprigs of soft herbs, chopped
2 tbsp small capers
A few cornichons/gherkins, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of freshly shaved parmesan
For the toppings
200ml Greek yoghurt
Zest and juice of a lemon
Salt and black pepper
1 Mix the yoghurt, half the lemon juice and all the zest with a pinch of salt and black pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
2 Quarter the avocados, then cut each piece into thin slices down to the skin. Squeeze over the remaining lemon juice and set aside.
3 Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat, add a tiny splash of olive oil, then add half of the egg to the pan, let it set into a kind of pancake for 10-15 seconds. Now, working quickly, put one of the tortillas on top of the egg: you want the egg to still be a bit runny, so it will attach itself to the tortilla as it sets.
4 When the egg has set, use a spatula to turn the whole thing over, sprinkle over half of the herbs, half the capers and cornichons and half of the parmesan. Cook until the cheese has melted. Repeat for multiple quesadillas.
5 To serve, fold the tortillas in half and top with the yoghurt and slices of avocado and, to make a meal of them, a little lemon-dressed green salad.
Read more: www.theguardian.com