Farmer’s Market quesadillas with chunky salsa


A produce vendor helps a customer at Madison’s Farmer’s Market.

Aaron Miller and Katrina Simyab, Clarion Staff Writers

Fall is almost upon us, and you can feel it get rather chilly over the past few days. Tomatoes and peppers will soon be gone from the seasonal produce section, so try these hearty quesadillas before those items fade for another year.

They reheat well, so making a whole batch and having lunch for a week is an option. Everything except for the tortillas, oil and vinegar was purchased at the farmers market for around $15, which is excellent for a week worth of lunches.

2 medium red bell peppers

2 poblano peppers

2 medium red onions

1 small bunch scallions (green onions), white part sliced thinly

1 pt yellow cherry tomatoes, cut into eights

tortillas (about 10, 10-inch flour tortillas or about 20, 6-inch corn tortillas, pictured is the flour but the corn ones were even better)

1 chinese eggplant (long and thin, although a European variety would work just as well)

1 bulb of garlic, minced

3/4 pound chipotle cheddar cheese from Brunkow Farms (could be substituted with a pepper jack or even a medium cheddar)

1 bunch cilantro, rough chopped

salt and pepper

mild tasting olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400

Slice peppers and onions into about 1/8-inch wide strips, add balsamic vinegar and olive oil to coat as well as salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and let sit for 30 minutes

Slice eggplant into bite sized pieces, coat with the balsamic and oil just like the peppers, spread out onto a pan and roast in the oven at 400. Stir the eggplant every 6 minutes until soft.

Mix scallions, tomatoes, one tablespoon of cilantro, and one tablespoon minced garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put marinated onion and pepper mix into a covered skillet on medium high. Heat and steam until soft for 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt. Remove from skillet and combine with cooked eggplant. Drain away any liquid and keep warm in a pan or in the oven.

Wipe out skillet and add a small amount of olive oil- just enough to coat the bottom- heat to medium high. The oil should shimmer but not be smoking.

Put a tortilla down on the hot oil. Quickly top with shredded cheese, the veggie mix, more shredded cheese and finally another tortilla. Press down on the stack with a saucepan for a few seconds to brown evenly on the bottom, flip the quesadilla and brown the other side. The tortillas should be warm and crispy. Remove from the pan, slice and serve with the salsa on the side, and garnish with leftover chopped cilantro. Eat immediately or let cool to room temperature. Put in a zip lock bag in the fridge, and reheat later.

Makes five 10-inch quesadillas or 10, 6-inch quesadillas.

Cook Time: about 1 hour