Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Charred Cauliflower Quesadilla with Cumin-Lime Crema

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Charred Cauliflower Quesadilla with Cumin-Lime Crema
Serves: 6
Difficulty: Easy
Charred Cauliflower Quesadilla with Cumin-Lime Crema 
There are many reasons to share this recipe – yes, its fabulous to eat – appetizer, lunch, even dinner with a great side dish or salad. But, it also gives me a chance to rave once again about this great kitchen tool = The Santa Fe Cooking School Grill! Whether your stove is gas or electric, this no-smoke dry roasting is perfect for chilies, sweet peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and other vegetables. It is made of cast iron with stainless steel mesh and wooden handles. Love it!
Charred Cauliflower Quesadilla with Cumin-Lime Crema
This veggie recipe is one that even dedicated carnivores can enjoy. The combination of kick from the peppers and plenty of cheese hide the healthy bites! 

  • 2 small or 1 large fresh poblano chilies
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 Tb olive oil, plus more for cooking the quesadillas
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tb lime juice
  • 2 C (about 8 ounces) coarsely grated Monterey jack cheese
  • 12 small (7-inch) flour tortillas 

For Cumin-lime Crema:
  • ½ C sour cream or Mexican crema
  • A few gratings fresh lime zest
  • 1 Tb freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch of salt

Over a gas burner turned to high, hold the poblanos over the flame with tongs and char them until they are black and blistered all over. There are two alternatives: 1) place the chile on the Grill Pan and turn with tongs until blistered; or 2) you could do this under a broiler, turning them frequently for even blistering. Transfer the hot chilies to a bowl, cover tightly, or paper bag. Set aside to steam and let their skins loosen while you cook the cauliflower.
Blistering the poblanos on THE GRILL
In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with 3 Tb olive oil, salt and pepper, until it is evenly coated. Heat a large heavy frying pan over high heat until almost smoking, add cauliflower, and let it cook until each piece has a few black spots but the veggie is not mushy, turning and moving it frequently to ensure even cooking. This will take 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to rest.
Coat the cauliflower in olive oil....

....and cook until you see the toasty spots (not too much!)

When poblanos are cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin off with your fingers. Pull out and discard stems and seed clusters, and slice peppers into ¼-inch wide strips. Add to cauliflower on board and give both a rough chop together, reducing the cauliflower to no bigger than ½-inch chunks. Return cauliflower and peppers to the large bowl; add scallions, lime juice and salt to taste. You should end with about 2 C of cauliflower filling.

Poblano strips, about a quarter inch thick
Now all mixed together

Make the crema: Combine the sour cream, or crema, lime zest, lime juice, cumin and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Taste, adjust seasonings, and set aside.

The crema

Lay out 6 tortillas and spread 1/3 C cauliflower filling and 1/3 C shredded cheese to each. Place second 6 tortillas on top. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, coat lightly with olive oil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook quesadilla until browned underneath, about 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip – use a large, thin spatula – and repeat on the second side. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.

Lay out the tortillas after toasting them, add the innards, and cover with another tortilla

To serve, cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with your choice of fixings. I love the cumin-lime crema but any number of sides could work.



adapted from Smitten Kitchen


  1. Where do you buy The Santa Fe Cooking School Grill? Is it suitable for glass top stoves? The skillet needs to have a flat bottom.

  2. I love this tool. You can purchase online from the Santa Fe cooking School in Santa Fe, NM or use it as a great excuse to visit a wonderful locale!
    It can be used for both gas and electric stoves, the legs are cast iron - I am not sure about Glass top stoves but I bet if you dropped them an email - they would respond.

  3. It seems wrong not to credit Smitten Kitchen.